Alcohol guidelines

Based on the latest scientific evidence, new alcohol guidelines have been released to help reduce the risk of alcohol harm and improve the health of Australians. The guidelines were developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the leading expert body in health and medical research in the country. The NHMRC uses a rigorous process to develop and review guidelines, which includes an independent expert review and a period of public consultation for stakeholders.

The new guidelines

While there is no safe level of drinking, the guidelines provide a framework for how to stay healthy and protect you and your family from alcohol harms.

The guidelines recommend that:

  • To reduce your risk of cancer, drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week.
  • Have no more than 4 standard drinks in one day to reduce your risk of injury and accidents.
  • Anyone under 18 should not drink alcohol to help prevent negative impacts on the developing brain and riskier levels of drinking when they are older.
  • Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should not drink alcohol to reduce harm to their unborn child.
  • Women who are breastfeeding should avoid drinking alcohol as it is safest for the health and development of their baby.

Drinking guidelines

Standard drinks

It can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you are consuming because different types of drinks contain different amounts of alcohol and come in different sizes.

A standard drink might be less than you think. For example, a bottle of beer or a glass of wine is often more than a 'standard drink'. An Australian standard drink contains 10g of alcohol (12.5ml of pure alcohol). One standard drink is 285ml of full-strength beer, a 100ml glass of wine, or 30ml of spirits.

Tracking how many standard drinks you’re consuming can help you follow the guidelines so you can stay as healthy as possible.

Standard drinks guide

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The ADF received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.