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Only 2 in 5 adults understand alcohol units

Published:  04 January, 2011

Only two in five adults understand how many alcohol units are in their drinks, according to research by Drinkaware.

The alcohol awareness charity surveyed more than 4,000 UK adults to find out how well people understand the alcohol unit system ? one unit is 10ml of pure alcohol, roughly the amount of alcohol an adult can process in one hour.

Of those surveyed, 85% have heard of 'alcohol units,' but only 42% can equate the term to actual drinks. The charity has posted 2.3 million unit and calorie calculators to households across the UK to promote understanding.

The survey found that when asked to choose from a list of beverages only 30% of women and 46% of men could correctly identify which drinks roughly equate to one unit of alcohol. In addition, less than a third of adults (29% of women and 32% of men) can correctly state the recommended daily unit guidelines for alcohol for their gender.

The unit calculator allows consumers to add up the number of units and calories in their favourite drinks and suggests consumers swap their usual glass for a smaller one, set limits or "swap a glass of wine for a relaxing bath to help relieve stress".

Chris Sorek, Drinkaware's chief executive, said: "It's important we challenge the norm of people unwittingly drinking to excess, whether that's at home after a long day at work or out at a bar or restaurant. Knowing how the unit guidelines translate into everyday life, will make it easier for consumers to stick to them."