When it Comes to Drinking, How Much is Too Much? Measuring Your Drinking

While there’s technically no amount of wine that's absolutely risk-free, especially for women, if you binge — that is, have five or more drinks in a single occasion  — even only one night per week, you are putting your health at risk. When you drink above the binge threshold, as an estimated 43 million people in the U.S. do, you reduce your brain’s ability to regulate your drinking intake and increase your body’s risk for alcohol use disorder, as well as cancer and heart disease.

Tracking your drinking is a really important first step to take. Awareness about how much you actually drink can help you set and meet meaningful limits.

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people have no more than one or two drinks a day, ‘one drink’ actually means something very specific: a standard drink, which for wine is a five ounce pour.

Because various shapes and sizes of glasses can make it difficult to determine whether ‘one glass’ is really holding ‘one drink,’ I recommend seeing what a standard drink looks like when poured in your own glassware. To do this yourself, you will need:

  • A liquid measuring cup
  • Your usual container(s) for drinking (e.g., wine glass, mug, juice glass, etc.)
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Pour water into the measuring cup to represent a specific type of alcohol and its standard drink size (for example, pour 5 fl. oz. of water to represent wine).

  2. Next, pour the water into your chosen container to see what a standard drink looks like.

  3. Compare the amount to your typical pour.

When you compare the amount of a ‘standard’ glass of wine to your typical pour, are you surprised? Here’s a one-pager if you’d like to keep this information handy!