Alcohol is damaging to health, increasing the risk of:

  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Certain cancers

Alcohol can have a negative impact on our mood, sleep and energy levels, and can also lead to other health risks like poor judgement, accidents and injuries. 

For more information on the short and long-term effects of alcohol, check out Alcohol. Think Again.

Drinking in moderation?

Any amount of alcohol increases your risk of developing cancer. The more you drink and the more often you drink, the greater your risk. If you choose to drink, stick to the following guidelines:

  • No more than 2 standard drinks per day (to reduce your long-term health risks)
  • No more than 4 standard drinks in a session (to reduce your risk of immediate injury)
  • Have some alcohol-free days each week

Not drinking is the safest option for people under 18 and women who are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding. 

One standard drink is:

A standard drink contains 10 g of alcohol. A standard drink can be quite different to the amount you actually have in your glass. For example, a glass of wine at a restaurant or a can of fancy beer is often 1.5 - 2 standard drinks. Learn how many standard drinks are in your usual pour with this great online tool from Alcohol. Think Again.

Standard drink of wine 100mL

100mL

One small glass of red or white wine

Standard drink of full-strength beer of cider = 1 middy

285mL

One middy of full-strength beer or cider

Standard drink of spirits 30mL

30mL

One nip of spirits

Standard drink mid-strength beer

375mL

One can of mid-strength beer


Alcohol and weight gain

Alcoholic drinks contain a lot of kilojoules and have no nutritional benefits. Over time, drinking alcohol can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which further increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

It’s the alcohol itself that contains most of the kilojoules, not the sugar or other carbohydrates as is often assumed. To drink fewer kilojoules, go for a low-alcohol drink rather than a low-carb one.

Drinking water at a picnic

Drinking can also lead to non-hungry snacking (often on junk foods), junk food “hangover cures” (they don’t work!) and less motivation to get out and exercise. Over time, this pattern can lead to weight gain. Cutting down or avoiding alcohol will help you avoid weight gain and improve your wellbeing.


Kilojoules in common drinks

DRINK
SIZE
KILOJOULES*
STANDARD DRINKS
Full-strength beer (5% alcohol)
375mL can
580
1.4
Lower-alcohol beer (2.1% alcohol)
375mL can
400
0.8
Wine/ champagne
150mL glass
460
1.5
Pre-mixed spirits
375mL can
990
1.5
Cider
330mL bottle
620
1.3
Spirits
30mL nip
260
1.0

*The average Aussie adult needs about 8,700kJ per day


Tips to cut back or skip drinking altogether

Strawberry and mint sparkling water
  • Set yourself a limit beforehand and count your drinks
  • Put your hand up to be the designated driver
  • Try low- and zero-alcohol alternatives
  • Make every second drink non-alcoholic
  • Avoid getting into rounds
  • Organise social catch-ups that don’t centre on alcohol – go for a picnic, hang out at the beach or go for brunch
  • If you’re hosting, include interesting and refreshing non-alcoholic options like fizzy water with mint and strawberry slices, or go all-out with a mocktail making station