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Rethinking Drinking

How does alcohol affect your health?
Many people enjoy a drink now and then when socializing with friends and family. Knowing your personal drinking pattern can help you understand if alcohol will affect your health.

Featured Topics

  • How many drinks are in common containers?

    Multi-colored alcohol bottles

    Learn the approximate number of standard drinks (or alcoholic drink equivalents) found in common containers.

  • Why being able to “hold your liquor” is a concern?

    A man with a blank stare

    An individual's lower response to the intoxicating effects of alcohol isn't protection from alcohol problems but instead is a reason for caution.

  • Do you know the signs that alcohol is causing harm?

    A woman in discomfort holds her head

    Having even a couple symptoms—which you might not see as trouble signs—can signal a drinking problem.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink shown in fluid ounces for regular beer, table wine and distilled spirits

What counts as a drink?

In the United States, a “standard drink” (also known as an alcoholic drink equivalent) is defined as any beverage containing 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol.

Find Out More

Alcohol Calculators

Learn the Facts

  • Is your "lite" beer light in alcohol?

    Not necessarily. Although they have fewer calories, many light beers have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85% as much, or 4.2% versus 5.0% alcohol by volume, on average.

    Check the alcohol content of your beverage. Malt beverages are not required to list their alcohol content on the labels, so you may need to visit the bottler's Web site.

  • How many "drinks" are in a bottle of wine?

    A typical 25-ounce (750 ml) bottle of table wine holds about 5 "standard" drinks, each containing about 5 ounces. This serving size of wine contains about the same amount of alcohol as a 12-ounce regular beer or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits.

    Get to know what 5 ounces looks like by measuring it out at home. That way you can estimate how many standard drinks you're being served in a restaurant or bar that uses large glasses and generous serving sizes.

Order our free print publication, available in English and Spanish

Download or order the free 20-page booklet, “Rethinking Drinking: Alcohol & Your Health”.

Rethinking Drinking English booklet

Disponible en Español

Descargue o ordene copias gratis del folleto de 20 páginas ‘Piénselo Antes de Beber: El Alcohol y su Salud’.

Rethinking Drinking Spanish booklet

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