how much do you drink in a normal week?

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Oh I dunno, probably 40 units or so. When I'm here by myself I'll typically open a bottle of wine one evening and finish it the next. If I don't have wine I'll usually have a couple of beers. Beers are smaller here but often quite strong. I often have a bottle of whisky on the go too, but I don't usually have more than a shot in one go.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
just curious, how much on average would 50 units cost over there? here, that could easily be $150-250 per week...christ, almost $1,000 a month on booze?!! $10-12k a year?!!

That depends very much on what you drink, doesn't it? I think your estimate is a bit high, sounds like what you might pay drinking spirits in a bar. A half-litre can of 5% lager might cost a quid or so, or $1.50 in US terms, and that's 2.5 units, so 40p a unit. Even in a pub, a £3.50 pint of let's say 4.5% beer works out at £1.40 a unit, or just over $2. And outside the SE of England, it's still common for pints to be closer to £2 than £3.
 

Leo

Well-known member
i didn't understand the definition of "units", thought it was just a reference to any one drink, be it wine/beer/spirits. so maybe by that measure i was a bit high.

pints at nyc bars are anywhere from $3.50 (during happy hour) to $6-8 each depending on what you order. fancy cocktails are a whole other story, can run $10-15 ea. but people don't normally have more than a couple.

of course, if you're drinking at home, you can got to a liquor store and buy a bottle of wine or six-pack of beer for $10.
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Oh right, well yeah, most "drinks" contain >1 unit of alcohol. A unit is 10ml of pure alcohol, so that's a 25ml shot of a 40% spirit, 200ml of a 5% beer etc.
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
30-50 pints of beer a week would be nuts.... Although eminently doable in the right week, of course...

I have long suffered under the illusion/refused to acknowledge that most pints are closer to three units of alcohol than two, so I probably have anywhere from 20 to 40 in any given week. The recommended limit per week for men is still 21 in the UK, and 14 for women....

"Men should drink no more than 21 units of alcohol per week, no more than four units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week.
Women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, no more than three units in any one day, and have at least two alcohol-free days a week."

No more than 3/4 units in any one day......wow. I do the alcohol-free days no problem, but two pints in one sitting is already obliterating that daily limit
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
That's bollox though, innit, I mean it's just a number arrived at by some committee. Like "five portions of fruit and veg", as though it were a magic number set in stone. Obviously it's better to eat some fruit and veg and have a moderate alcohol intake than to be a raging lush who doesn't know what a carrot is, but putting a number on recommended intakes is only ever going to be a very, very rough guideline based on estimates, risk factors and averages. For one thing, the ability to metabolize alcohol varies enormously from person to person.

Didn't there use to be government advice posters in France telling people not to drink more than two litres of wine a day? Unless that's an urban myth...I'd like it not to be, though.

Edit: while googling the France thing I stumbled across this - http://www.thelocal.se/45078/20121214/#.UUbrHVcqQoE. Is Sweden the most uptight country in the world?
 
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baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Obviously it is an arbitrary number, which is also problematic as I have absolutely no idea of what damage years and years of high alcohol consumption could wreak... What moderate intake really is, is very difficult to judge, particularly as high alcohol intake is very normalised by the culture in the UK, for example

I guess my point with the previous post is that the recommended alcohol limits are SO out of kilter with everyday reality (particularly the daily limit), that they become almost meaningless (whereas five portions of fruit and veg a day, while high, is an achievable target to build into one's life). How many (youngish) people in the UK never have two drinks at one sitting during the week? Only those who don't drink at all, I'd suspect.
 
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viktorvaughn

Well-known member
That depends very much on what you drink, doesn't it? I think your estimate is a bit high, sounds like what you might pay drinking spirits in a bar. A half-litre can of 5% lager might cost a quid or so, or $1.50 in US terms, and that's 2.5 units, so 40p a unit. Even in a pub, a £3.50 pint of let's say 4.5% beer works out at £1.40 a unit, or just over $2. And outside the SE of England, it's still common for pints to be closer to £2 than £3.

I dunno man, i don't think many places pints are closer to 2 than 3 pounds these days.

You get so resigned to paying a lot in London I don't really turn a hair at 3.80 for a pint of good beer in a nice pub nowadays..
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I dunno man, i don't think many places pints are closer to 2 than 3 pounds these days.

Really? Not even in, I dunno, Huddersfield? Any northerners can chip in on this?

Edit: oh and there's 'spoons, of course. Don't forget 'spoons!
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
Really? Not even in, I dunno, Huddersfield? Any northerners can chip in on this?

Edit: oh and there's 'spoons, of course. Don't forget 'spoons!

Yeah i'm setting aside spoons here! (Though I actually love spoons in the right time and place..)

Maybe i don't have a wide enough sample but my times out of london I've often thought the price gap wasn't as big as some people make out.
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
Obviously it is an arbitrary number, which is also problematic as I have absolutely no idea of what damage years and years of high alcohol consumption could wreak... What moderate intake really is, is very difficult to judge, particularly as high alcohol intake is very normalised by the culture in the UK, for example

I guess my point with the previous post is that the recommended alcohol limits are SO out of kilter with everyday reality (particularly the daily limit), that they become almost meaningless (whereas five portions of fruit and veg a day, while high, is an achievable target to build into one's life). How many (youngish) people in the UK never have two drinks at one sitting during the week? Only those who don't drink at all, I'd suspect.

I'm not sure i agree here. The national guideline is by definition the best general recommendation for the public as a whole - it can't take into account men who are huge and can metabolise more alcohol than others and vice versa, so by definition it's the best estimate for the public at large, it's not arbitrary (though there are dissenting voices as the the best estimate, as evidenced by the limit decreasing over time in the UK and big discrepancies across Europe.)

I think there is a bit of a misconception about alcohol harms for many people (not saying this is you and Tea) where it's a polarise situation of danger drinkers/alcoholics making up the reckless 5% who become ill and need loads of treatment and cost the taxpayers lots of money and then 'everyone else' - the 95%, who are healthy and may drink a bit or a lot but are ok.

But for public health people of course it's all on a scale, and for them shifting the drinking habits of people in the middle of that scale (people like us, i drink similar amounts to what people here have been saying) down a bit is just as valuable as shifting down the people at the extreme end, if not more so, because there are so so many people in that middle section. I do think as a society we underestimate the damage that sitting in the middle of this scale can do - because alcohol is all around us, because it tastes great, our mates do it etc. We are numbed to its toxic effects because it's so so embedded in our lives.

I've got a few stats to hand from doing stuff at work on alcohol that may be interesting..

• 1.6 million people have mild, moderate or severe alcohol dependence (Home Office. Drug strategy 2010: reducing demand, restricting supply, building recovery: supporting people to live a drug-free life 2010)

Average unit consumption is actually quite low.
• In 2009, men drank, on average, 15.6 units of alcohol a week; women drank 9.5 units a week– both within the NHS guidelines (Demos, Under the influence: Taking a look at binge drinking behind the headlines… 2011.)

• Excessive alcohol consumption (twice the recommended daily allowance in a single episode) in the UK has been decreasing since 2005, and more quickly among 16-24 year olds, falling from 39 per cent in 1998 to 30 per cent in 2008, and by a similar amount among underage drinkers (Demos, Under the influence: Taking a look at binge drinking behind the headlines… 2011.)

• 21% of Londoners are reported to be drinking to harmful or hazardous levels. 5% (approximately 370 000 people) of adult Londoners are dependent drinkers compared to 3.6 % of adults across the whole of England (Greater London Authority. London: the Highs and Lows 2: A report from the Greater London Alcohol and Drug Alliance 2007)
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
But for public health people of course it's all on a scale, and for them shifting the drinking habits of people in the middle of that scale (people like us, i drink similar amounts to what people here have been saying) down a bit is just as valuable as shifting down the people at the extreme end, if not more so, because there are so so many people in that middle section. I do think as a society we underestimate the damage that sitting in the middle of this scale can do - because alcohol is all around us, because it tastes great, our mates do it etc. We are numbed to its toxic effects because it's so so embedded in our lives.

I've got a few stats to hand from doing stuff at work on alcohol that may be interesting..

Average unit consumption is actually quite low.
• In 2009, men drank, on average, 15.6 units of alcohol a week; women drank 9.5 units a week– both within the NHS guidelines (Demos, Under the influence: Taking a look at binge drinking behind the headlines… 2011.)

Oh, I agree with that entirely - I think drink can be very damaging for those in the middle of the scale. But it's precisely because of this that I don't think that the weekly limits are changing anyone's behaviour (maybe I'm wrong). But British social life in particular is so dominated by drinking, that it's that that will need to change before counting units will have much effect.

As to the statistics, how do they measure those? If it's by asking people how much they drink, then it's not going to give a very accurate picture.
 

Immryr

Well-known member
i'm from newcastle and beers here range from about £2.90 for your standard 3.8 pale ale to £4 for something strong / interesting. more for keg beers.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
I think official figures on booze consumption are widely regarded as underestimates, because they're based solely on the legal sale of booze in this country, so they don't include booze brought back from foreign trips for personal use, bootleg stuff imported and sold illegally and home-brew (though this is perhaps less important in the UK than in countries in e.g. eastern Europe where many people distill their own spirits). And if some effort is made to include those figures, they're necessarily going to involve a big margin of error.

Also, average intake *per drinker* is going to be a fair bit higher once you exclude people who don't drink at all.

I agree though that there is no hard and fast line between 'proper' alcoholics and 'normal' drinkers who drink a healthy amount. It's perfectly possible to do yourself damage without being clinically dependent on alcohol, or being somewhat dependent but in a sufficiently functional way (holding down a job) that you can sustain it indefinitely until the damage really starts to manifest itself, which could be years.
 

Patrick Swayze

I'm trying to shut up
Really? Not even in, I dunno, Huddersfield? Any northerners can chip in on this?

Edit: oh and there's 'spoons, of course. Don't forget 'spoons!

in my experience pints in the north range from £2.90 - 3.40ish and in parts of ldn and the south east they're more like £3.50-4.20
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Shit, I'm way out of touch. No wonder pubs are going down the swanny at a rate of knots.
 

jorge

Well-known member
i swear henry weston's is pretty cheap..... tastes like it should be

I think Vintage(8.2) and Organic(6.4) are about £2.30 in shops and a quid or 2 more in pubs and they are both peng. I mean I would be happy to drink crumpton oaks or barnstormer but westons is far nicer than most cider you find.
 

viktorvaughn

Well-known member
i'm from newcastle and beers here range from about £2.90 for your standard 3.8 pale ale to £4 for something strong / interesting. more for keg beers.

My local in london is 3£ for a wicked ale, going up to 4 for something foreign or strong so pretty similar.
 
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