21 Units of Alcohol

Bernard Murray bernard at elsie.nci.nih.gov
Thu Oct 20 14:52:53 EST 1994

In article <383vm8$7qb at rebecca.albany.edu>, tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu writes:
> Dear Deniz,
> 	My guess is that one "unit of alcohol" is one shot of 100 proof liquor.
> This translates into about 23 cm^3 of 95% ethanol.  The potentially dangerous
> assumption involved is that the unit is one shot (1.5 fluid ounces).  I'd
> guess that three drinks (or glasses of wine) per day is what is meant, but if
> I were you I'd err on the side of caution.  Wine taken with a meal is probab-
> ly less harmful than wine drunk on an empty stomach, etc.  You don't want to
> fool around with your liver (I had acute type A hep).  Good luck.
> 				Yours,
> 				Bill Tivol

Yes, in the UK a "unit" is usually described as one glass of wine (I can't
remember how big a "standard glass" is these days), a single shot of spirits
or half a pint of "normal" beer (not the extra-strong variety).  Obviously
there *is* a target amount of ethanol in each unit but I think that "real
world" measures are more useful.
	And for your liver's sake, 21 units a week should be spread out
(ie. not 10.5 pints on Saturday night).  Seriously though, I hope that
your health remains stable and that you can continue to enjoy the odd drink.

Bernard Murray, Ph.D.
bernard at elsie.nci.nih.gov (National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda MD, USA)

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