Many of us will have exceeded recommended weekly alcohol limits of 14 units per week for women and 21 for men over the festive season but now is the time to get yourself back in check and be honest. You are probably significantly underestimating your alcohol intake if you write off a glass of wine as a single unit. We used to call a small 125ml glass a unit but that was when most wines were around 8% alcohol.
Not only are today’s wines much stronger but our glasses tend to be significantly bigger, meaning a glass of wine could easily be nearer three units. To calculate your alcohol units, look at the percent alcohol of the drink you are drinking. This is the number of units in a litre of that fluid. So, if you are drinking 12% wine there will be 9 units in a bottle and don’t forget to make sure you have a couple of ‘dry days’ each week to give your liver a rest.
A bit like blood pressure, there is no way of knowing what your level is unless you have it tested. I have lots of short, fat patients who seem to live off fast food but have perfect cholesterol levels and healthy-living, slim ones with very high cholesterol. That’s because only 10-20% of our total cholesterol is gained from our diet. The rest is made by our bodies and how much of it we make is determined by our genes. Just like blood pressure, I think anyone over 40 should have a test and think about it sooner if you have a strong family history of heart disease.