How much is too much?

By Carolyn Enting

How much is too much?
Emerging research shows few of us know our limits when it comes to alcohol.

While many of us prepare to ring the public holiday celebrations with a beer or two (or three), health experts are urging us to consider what our limits are when it comes to booze.

New research shows that two out of three New Zealanders don’t know what a standard alcoholic drink is, which means the majority of them don’t know how much we are drinking.

The study commissioned by The Tomorrow Project was carried out by independent research company Big Picture towards the end of last year, and found that 61 per cent also didn’t know why a standard drink is an important measure.

Unfortunately it doesn’t get much better across the Tasman, as a similar trend is emerging amongst Australians.

The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research released their latest report on the matter only a few weeks ago. The survey of more than 25,000 Aussies found 95 per cent of people surveyed were unable to correctly identify safe drinking levels.

Drinking misconceptions were particularly pronounced among young people, men and heavy drinkers.

“Young people are significantly overestimating the number of standard drinks to consume per occasion to reduce the risk of short-term harms, with young men aged 14-19 years estimating 8.8 drinks while their female counterparts estimated 6.5 drinks,” Mr Livingston said.

A standard drink is set at 10g of pure alcohol because this is how much alcohol the average person can process in one hour. A standard glass of wine is around 100ml, while a standard beer stands at 330ml.

The guidelines say people should not consume more than two standard drinks a day in order to reduce the long term risk caused by alcohol consumption – no more than four standard drinks should be consumed in one sitting!

Cheers! is a new consumer education program operated by The Tomorrow Project which was established and is funded by the Brewer¹s Association, Distilled Spirits Association and New Zealand Winegrowers to provide New Zealanders with the tools and information they need to make healthy and responsible drinking choices.

It has launched a range of glassware on which a standard drink is clearly marked at a range of strengths. Sets of glass are available free of charge at


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