Drinking Guidelines

Moderate drinking guidelines are set by governments, so that any potential harm to the human body is minimized and any potential benefit is maximised.

Exceptions are young people, combining alcoholic drinks with certain medications, women during pregnancy, people with a history of addiction.

The guidelines set the maximum daily and/or weekly amount of alcohol, mainly expressed in drinking units/standard drinks, that men or a women should drink. Some guidelines include recommendations to drink with food, to alternate alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks and ‘to pace’ drinking.

Based on available scientific evidence and different references provided by various public health authorities, it is accepted that low-risk moderate consumption ranges between the amounts set out in the guidelines below:

Guidelines for low risk moderate consumption:

·         Up to 2 drink units a day for women

·         Up to 3 drink units a day for men

·         No more than 4 drink units on any one occasion.

Nonetheless, the amount of ethanol of a drinking unit/standard drink vary from country to country. The complexity of the size of a standard drink/drinking unit is further enhanced when they are translated to number of glasses as there is a huge variety of type/size of wine glasses and also a large variation of  the  alcohol by volume (ABV) title of each wine. 

An updated and comprehensive table with the International Drinking Guidelines can be found in the website of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD).


The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.