Healthy living

Home drinkers over-generous with spirits

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When it comes to spirits, home drinkers pour over double the amount of whisky, vodka or gin they would be served in a pub without realising, new figures show.

In a series of experiments carried out by the government's Know Your Limits Campaign, 600 home drinkers from London, North Shields and Liverpool were asked to pour the amounts of spirits and wine they would usually drink at home, and to estimate a single measure of spirits.

The results showed the average "home barman" poured 57ml of spirits compared with a standard 25ml measure served in a pub.

And when asked to pour a single 25ml measure, the average poured was 38ml – over 50% more, with the highest amount measuring in at 182ml.

People aged 31 to 50 were the most generous, pouring an average of 41ml of spirits.

Women were shown to overestimate the amount of wine, while men poured more spirits.

Wine glass size also affected the amount of alcohol poured. When asked to pour one unit of wine into a 250ml wine glass, the average amount poured was 157ml - almost double the correct amount of 76.25ml.

But when a smaller wine glass was used, an average of 131ml was poured, still 55ml over the correct measure.

Public health minister Gillian Merron said: “Many of us enjoy a drink, especially at New Year.

“But it’s easy to get carried away and it’s worrying to see just how much more people might be unwittingly pouring for themselves and their friends at home on a regular basis.

“Over time, such over-generosity may backfire and harm your health. If you want to minimise your risk of diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke, it’s worth paying attention to the size of your measures.

“New Year is a good time to re-think how much you drink.”

This article was published on Thu 31 December 2009

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