Are you drinking a dangerous amount? Online calculator tallies how much alcohol you consume compared to the UK average (and what it adds up to in calories)
- Drinkaware calculator works out how many units a person drinks in a week
- Compares to the national average based on data from more than 6,000 people
- Charity faced controversy after it emerged it is funded by the alcohol industry
But a handy calculator can now tally up how much you consume, compared to the UK average.
The tool, based on a survey of more than 6,000 people, even works out how many hidden calories you consumes when you indulge in your favourite tipple.
Take the test below and see how your drinking compares
The online calculator compares how much a user drinks to the average UK resident
It then asks how often they drink, ranging from every week to never
The calculator, developed by Public Health England in collaboration with Drinkaware, starts off by quizzing users on where they live.
Participants are also questioned on how old they are and whether they are male or female.
It then asks them how often they drink – every week, twice a month or less, once a month or less, or never.
The calculator then quizzes a user to highlight the days of the week they typically drink. If this varies, it prompts them to use the past seven days as a guide.
It then asks how often the user overindulges in alcohol in one sitting; defined as two-and-a-half pints or medium glasses of wine, six shots of spirits or four-and-a-half bottles of beer.
The calculator then presents how the user’s drinking compares to others of the same sex.
It also works out the number of units they get through in a week and how many calories this equates to.
The NHS recommends adults drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which they should spread over at least three days.
This is around six pints of medium-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
The NHS also advises people have several alcohol-free days a week.
However, some claim this can lead to drinkers overindulging on the days they do treat themselves.
Users are asked what days they typically drink, using the past week as a guide
On a drinking day, users tally up how much of different types of alcohol they get through
The NHS recommends adults drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which they should spread over at least three days
This is around six pints of medium-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. However, units can vary among differing strength alcohols
A pint of higher-strength beer is around three units, while a single shot is just one unit
The calculator comes after experts threatened to stop helping Public Health England if it continues to work with companies that produce and sell alcohol.
They claim PHE’s reputation will be at ‘significant risk’ if it goes ahead with the planned campaign with Drinkaware, which is urging middle-aged people to have set days when they abstain from alcohol.
Although Drinkaware claims to be independent, it openly receives funding from alcohol producers, pub companies and supermarkets.
Experts worry this may create a conflict of interest.
PHE’s chief alcohol adviser, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, resigned last month because of the body’s collaboration with Drinkaware.
Another of the body’s alcohol advisers, Professor Petra Meier, has also signed the letter, along with Professors Mark Petticrew and Dame Sally Macintyre, who have advised on official drinking guidelines.
The editor of the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, Richard Horton, has also signed.
And the director of the UK centre for tobacco and alcohol studies, Professor John Britton, is threatening to resign his post as PHE’s chief smoking advisor.
Even the World Health Organization has criticised the pairing, with experts saying they are ‘alarmed’ PHE officials do not seem bothered by the collaboration.
But Drinkaware’s chief executive Duncan Selbie argues the organisation is a charity and not part of the alcohol industry.
DO YOU DRINK TOO MUCH ALCOHOL? THE 10 QUESTIONS THAT REVEAL YOUR RISK
One screening tool used widely by medical professionals is the AUDIT (Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Tests). Developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, the 10-question test is considered to be the gold standard in helping to determine if someone has alcohol abuse problems.
The test has been reproduced here with permission from the WHO.
To complete it, answer each question and note down the corresponding score.
0-7: You are within the sensible drinking range and have a low risk of alcohol-related problems.
Over 8: Indicate harmful or hazardous drinking.
8-15: Medium level of risk. Drinking at your current level puts you at risk of developing problems with your health and life in general, such as work and relationships. Consider cutting down (see below for tips).
16-19: Higher risk of complications from alcohol. Cutting back on your own may be difficult at this level, as you may be dependent, so you may need professional help from your GP and/or a counsellor.
20 and over: Possible dependence. Your drinking is already causing you problems, and you could very well be dependent. You should definitely consider stopping gradually or at least reduce your drinking. You should seek professional help to ascertain the level of your dependence and the safest way to withdraw from alcohol.
Severe dependence may need medically assisted withdrawal, or detox, in a hospital or a specialist clinic. This is due to the likelihood of severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms in the first 48 hours needing specialist treatment.