Monday, 10 January 2011

The 100-unit week

Glyn of Rabid About Beer has recently been posting reports of his alcohol consumption, and some of his daily totals will undoubtedly cause paroxysms of horror amongst the Righteous.

This brought to mind a recent discussion on another blog (possibly Dick Puddlecote) about the “100 unit week” and to what extent that was normal or even achievable. While it’s not something I’d recommend doing every week, it’s a level I suspect many people attain when on holiday or over the Christmas period without feeling at all that they are drinking heavily. The key is to do it regularly and steadily, and to drink at lunchtime as well as in the evening to spread it out more.

Take for example someone on holiday somewhere sunny, who each day drinks two pints of 5% ABV San Miguel (or equivalent) at lunchtime, has a 250ml glass of 13% wine with his dinner, and then has two more pints of San Miguel later in the evening. Over seven days, that’s 102 units, yet most people observing that individual would conclude that he was keeping his drinking to a moderate level. And, of course, many British holidaymakers would undoubtedly consider that distinctly lightweight.

21 comments:

  1. Never have taken any notice of this unit crap but l'm at Skegness Rock n Blues weekend so that's 3 nights and 3 x 1 litre bottles of JD.

    What's that work out in units? :)

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  2. I have to confess whilst it didn’t cause paroxysms of horror, I did raise an eyebrow at his consumption which is by any definition “heavy drinking”. He isn’t doing that as a one off during a week in Benidorm or over the Christmas week but recording his regular alcohol consumption. That level of consumption over an extended period will cause health problems. Glynn is a great chap, having met him at the bloggers twissup I recall him as being a lovely fella it was enjoyable to have a beer with. As a result encouraging heavy drinking by describing his actions as “heroic” as some have commentated is not I believe the actions of a friend. My own comments have been to suggest he gets his liver looked at by a doctor. My next comment will be to have a few nights off the sauce.

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  3. @Smoking Hot: A lot!

    @Cookie: We don't know yet if he's doing that all year round. And if you suggest to your bibulous friends that they should get their liver checked out, it may not go down too well...

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  4. Well, I don't consider that we drink to excess particularly as we don't go to the pub any more because of the smoking ban.

    We have two large gin and tonics at 5pm followed by sharing a bottle of wine with the evening meal. Occasionally, I may have a glass of Stella at 3pm and a malt whisky before going to bed.

    This probably works out at 70+ units a week each, but I don't count them. Been doing this for years with no ill effects.

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  5. Whilst on holiday I have drank similar amounts to what you describe, without any ill effects. I wouldn't do it normally though!

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  6. WTF? l just saw the recommended unit intake is 21 units per week and no more than 4 a day. Skegness Rock n Blues weekend will l expect be 40 units per day ... oop's! :)

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  7. Sorry, PC, just seen this. Yes, it was at mine in the comments under this article. :)

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  8. It seems, on a rough estimate, that I drink about 50-60 units a week. Is that bad?

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  9. Everyone knows that excessive drinking can be harmful, but the 14 or 21 unit limits were not determined scientifically, as we learned a few years ago. In the real world, the health effect of alcohol varies tremendously from one person to another.

    We all have the information we need about alcohol. The government should treat us like adults and let us make our own decisions.

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  10. Cookie

    If you think 100 units a week is excessive, I'd better not mention the lads round my way who belong to the 100 PINTS a week club. And no, I'm not a member:)

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  11. They would be "lads" Tys. How many make it to being "old men"?

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  12. "... many British holidaymakers would undoubtedly consider that distinctly lightweight."

    That's not 'lightweight', that's more or less tee total.

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  13. @Mudgie and Cookie - The righteous may well be shocked and frankly I couldn't give a shit about them. I started the diary last year as a 'litmus test' as to how much I was drinking because I genuinely didn't have a clue.
    Doing the diary for the 2nd year and having nearly 4 times as many followers as last year has inevitably brought interest from people who want to strike out against 'health regulations' or 'govt advice'. All power to them, I'm not saying it's a safe amount to drink but I'm also not trying to be heroic for drinking this much. It's what I have been consuming on average(possibly more this week) for (x) amount of time. But Mudgie has a good point, it IS spread out through the day, I don't finish work and say to myself, lets get c#*ted! I don't enjoy that, what I do enjoy is a good beer with like minded people. Yes I'm definitely drinking too much(my beer gut tells you that) but that's mine to deal with. Don't mark me a hero or a villain, just a drinker(of proper craft canned, kegged, casked beer) ;-) Essay over, night gents.

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  14. Cookie

    Well "lads" might be stretching it a bit technically as they are all in their 50s now. Whether that makes them "old men" in the eyes of a young lad like yourself, I leave up to you.

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  15. You must have a pretty healthy income to be able to afford to drink 100 pints a week - assuming it's done in pubs at £2.50 a pint that's £13,000 a year.

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  16. In view of the fact that nobody made him do it, I reckon our fellow beer devotee Rabid has done a pretty courageous thing by revealing precisely what goes down his neck.

    It has certainly sparked dialogue about a potential 'elephant in the room' which we might all be somewhat guilty of ignoring.

    I reckon an annual assessment of 'such things' might well be a good thing for us all to try.

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  17. I did a poll here asking whether people kept some kind of record of their alcohol consumption,

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  18. In the 7 days up to Monday 3 January, I drank 32½ pints of beer and cider. Assuming an average strength of 4.5%, that's 83 units. Adding on a few glasses of wine and whisky, and I've gone over 100. Not by any means a normal week, as it's a holiday and the New Year period, but that underlines the point that it's easily achieved without any feeling that one is drinking heavily.

    The following 7 days saw 16 pints consumed, which on the same basis is 40 units, no wine and very little whisky, which is more like normal.

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  19. PC

    Technically all you need to do is be willing to maintain your level of outgoings, irrespective (to a degree, naturally) of incomings. I believe £13,000 is just under half the avergae annual wage, so let's say 50% in this case.

    Sounds high, but then I myself live by the principle that income may fluctuate, but beer consumption remains steady:)

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  20. £26k is the average pre-tax income, though. After tax and NI it's more like £21k.

    Mind you, if you were doing your 100 pints a week on tinnies of Carling at 50p a pop it would be a much more manageable £65 a week or £3380 a year, which is only the cost of a 30-a-day cigarette habit.

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  21. Having spoken to one of the club members, I estimate the figure to be somewhere between the two extremes. Possibly around the £7500 area. Perhaps even less. Some of the consumption is by cheap supermarket buys, but even in the pubs, they have not breached the £2 mark yet.

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