How much alcohol is too much per day?

10/18/2015 by admin0
  • Alcohol consumption affects every organ system in your body and is associated with numerous health risks.
  • The more alcohol you consume, the greater the health risks. Heavy drinking and binge drinking are especially dangerous.
  • If you choose to drink alcohol, you should drink in moderation.
  • Be aware that even moderate alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of certain diseases, such as breast cancer, head and neck cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. 

What counts as one drink?

One serving of alcohol contains 0.6 fluid ounces (fl. oz) or 14 grams of alcohol. This amount of alcohol is found in each of the following:

  • 12 fl. oz of beer
  • 8 fl. oz of malt liquor
  • 5 fl. oz of wine
  • 3-4 fl. oz of fortified wine (e.g., sherry, port)
  • 2-3 fl. oz of cordial, liqueur, or aperitif
  • 1.5 fl. oz (one shot) of brandy, cognac, or distilled spirits (e.g., whiskey, gin, rum, tequila, vodka) 

What is moderate drinking? 

  • For women:  no more than 1 drink per day.                             
  • For men:  no more than 2 drinks per day.
  • This cannot be averaged out. For example, drinking 3 drinks per week, but all on the same day, is not moderate drinking.

What is heavy drinking?

  • For women:  4 or more drinks on one day or 8 or more drinks per week.
  • For men: 5 or more drinks on one day or 15 or more drinks per week. 

What is binge drinking?

  • For women:  4 or more drinks on one occasion.
  • For men:  5 or more drinks on one occasion.


When should you not drink any alcohol?

  • If you are under the age of 21.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • If you have a history of alcohol use disorder or cannot control how much you drink.
  • If you have a condition which can be made worse by alcohol, such as liver disease, pancreatitis, heart rhythm abnormalities, or bipolar disorder. 
  • If you are taking medications which interact with alcohol.
  • If you are driving or engaging in activities which require alertness or coordination.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Alcohol use and your health. Retrieved July

22, from  

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2023, April 10). The Basics:  Defining

how much alcohol is too much.


Smith, D.G. (2023, January 13). Even a little alcohol can harm your health. The New York Times.


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