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Shoppers urged to consider their alcohol intake

Written by NHS Tayside
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Focus On Alcohol Dundee will be asking shoppers at Dundee’s Wellgate Centre to ‘drop a drink size’ by switching

Focus On Alcohol Dundee will be asking shoppers at Dundee’s Wellgate Centre to ‘drop a drink size’ by switching to smaller glasses when drinking alcohol.

Shoppers will be encouraged to take the ‘unit challenge’ using the Focus On Alcohol Dundee alcohol unit measuring cups and will be given information on sensible drinking to coincide with the launch of the Scottish Government’s ‘Time to Think About What You Drink’ campaign.

Every time you have a drink, whether that’s after work, to relax after a tiring day with the kids, with a meal, while watching TV or catching up with friends, it all adds up to more than you think. The sensible drinking guidelines are lower than most people realise. Men shouldn’t regularly drink more than 3-4 units a day (equivalent to a pint and a half of 5% ABV lager) and for women it’s 2-3 units a day (equivalent to a 250ml glass of 12% ABV wine).

Kirstie Wilkinson, Focus On Alcohol Dundee Co-ordinator said, “Not only is alcohol stuffed with more calories than many foods making you put on weight, drinking too much can lead to poor skin, brittle hair and nails and can cause an increase in mood swings, anxiety and depression.

“Regularly drinking over the sensible drinking guidelines will not only affect your appearance and general health, it can also disrupt your sleep and lead to an increased risk of high blood pressure, chronic liver disease and breast cancer.

“The good news is that there’s still time to turn it around. By making small changes to the way you drink, you can make a big difference to the way you feel now and to your long-term health and wellbeing.”

Tips for sensible drinking

Remember size isn’t everything. A large glass of white wine can contain 3 units of alcohol – think about how that adds up over a night if you’re drinking more than one.

Set yourself a drinking budget and stick to it. Think about how much you’re going to drink before you go on a night out. One way of making sure you don’t go over this is to take only enough money to buy the drinks you want (and a bit more to get you home safely).

Eat before you drink. Eat a good meal before you start drinking, or enjoy some snacks while you drink. This helps to slow down the effect of alcohol on your body.

Alternate alcohol with soft drinks or water. It will help you cut down the number of units you consume and avoid a hangover the next day. Drink water regularly whilst you’re out drinking and also when you get home to keep hydrated.

Have a break. Aim to have at least 2 alcohol-free days every week to give your body a break.

Know your strength. The strength of drinks varies dramatically depending on what you’re drinking. So make sure you know how many units are in your drink, and keep tabs on your intake. A cocktail can contain as many as 4 units, while a 750ml bottle of table wine (12% vol) totals 9 units.

Measure your drinks. Use a unit measure cup to keep track of how much you’re pouring at home.

Keep a diary.

Try keeping a drinking diary, noting how much you drank and where and you’ll get a better idea of your alcohol intake

If you are concerned about your drinking, try to get help. Talk to a friend, or your GP. Dundee Focus on Alcohol offers hints and tips on responsible drinking through their Facebook page –

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