Alcohol Intake In Men

British Nutrition Foundation

Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health and can contribute to increased risk of:

  • cancers of the mouth and throat
  • heart disease and stroke
  • liver disease
  • brain damage
  • damage to the nervous system

Alcohol is also associated with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. The Royal College of Psychiatrists reports on the connection between depression and alcohol, looking at two ways it may work:

  • you regularly drink too much including (including ‘binge drinking’) which makes you feel depressed OR
  • you drink to relieve anxiety or depression.

and states that either way:

  • Alcohol affects the chemistry of the brain, increasing the risk of depression.
  • Hangovers can create a cycle of waking up feeling ill, anxious, jittery and guilty.
  • Life gets depressing – arguments with family or friends, trouble at work, memory and sexual problems. 

2016 government guidance advises that:

  • To keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level you are safest not regularly drinking more than 14 units per week for both men and women.
  • If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more (rather than having one or two heavy drinking sessions).
  • If you wish to cut down the amount you're drinking, a good way to achieve this is to have several alcohol-free days each week.

To help keep health risks low we should try to:

  • Limit the total amount of alcohol drunk on any one occasion.
  • Drink more slowly, with food and alternate with water.

Units

A unit is about half a pint of beer, lager or cider, or a single measure of spirits.

Data from 2014 Health Survey for England of around 8000 adults estimates that on average men over the age of 16 years consume 16.8 units of alcohol per week whereas women consume 8.8 units. In men who took part in the survey, 14% were classified as frequent drinkers (those who drank alcohol on at least 5 days in the week before being interviewed), compared to 8% of women.

Alcoholic drinks also contain a surprising amount of calories. Here are a few examples:

  • A pint of beer, lager and cider contains about 200kcal.
  • One medium-sized (175ml) glass of wine contains 125kcal.
  • One bottle of wine contains 500kcal or more.
  • A vodka and mixer or gin and tonic is 120kcal.

To help you reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, try drinking lower strength drinks, drinking half pints instead of pints, or alternating drinks with low or non-alcoholic drinks.

Useful resources

Cancer Focus NI, Keeping Well vans are mobile drop-in units which bring health checks,...
We have a team of trained volunteers throughout the UK who carry out talks to groups both...
Each month we run an online support group for men on active surveillance - a form of...
Prostate Cancer UK have a team of trained volunteers throughout the UK who carry out...
Fatigue support is a telephone programme which includes 4 appointments with a Specialist...
There are hundreds of prostate cancer support groups in the UK. We have details of many...
There are a number of health campaigns throughout the year to raise awareness of...
Living with prostate cancer can be hard to deal with emotionally, as well as physically...
We all have good and bad days but what and when we eat can influence our mood, energy,...
‘Engage’ training is a comprehensive one day programme which seeks to address the current...
There is an increasing number of organisations / practitioners who are keen to involve...
Informing Choices NI are currently supported by the Public Health Agency to undertake a...
This programme is a six week training programme for groups of adults and focuses on...
A healthy diet and regular physical activity may help you manage the effects of prostate...
Move for Men is your new monthly fitness and wellbeing membership, designed to help you...
This includes: Raising awareness of depression and Aware NI services at a wide range of...
As part of this community, you can talk about whatever you want, from diagnosis to...
We rely on our incredible volunteers to help us spread the word about prostate cancer,...
Cancer Focus NI can provide a wide range of presentations to meet the needs of your...
The important thing to remember when you’re affected by prostate disease is that you’re...
Call us for free, unbiased, confidential support and information. There's no such thing...
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
Guided meditations
Guided meditations
Food diary, exercise tracker and diet coach
Learn to manage negative thoughts and look at problems differently
Handle stress and anxiety on the go
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
Prostate Cancer UK launched a campaign to encourage men at higher risk of prostate cancer...
Your Mind Plan offers practical ideas and advice to help you boost and maintain your mental wellbeing. Answer the quick 5-question quiz and the Every Mind Matters widget will give you 5 tailored actions to help you feel more in control, improve your sleep, deal with stress and anxiety, and boost your mood – as well as the option to easily swap any actions and to save the whole plan via email.