Australian alcohol guidelines
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), our leading expert body in health and medical research. The NHMRC uses a rigorous process to develop and review the guidelines, which includes an independent expert review and stakeholder consultation.
The new guidelines
While there’s no safe level of drinking, the guidelines provide a framework for how to stay healthy and protect yourself and your family from alcohol harm.
The guidelines recommend that:
- to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury for healthy men and women, drink no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day. anyone under 18 should not drink alcohol to reduce the risk of injury and harm to the developing brain.
- women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not drink alcohol to prevent harm to their baby.
It can be difficult to keep track of how much alcohol you’re 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.
- Spirits 40% alcohol, 30ml nip
- Wine 13% alcohol, 100ml average serving
- Sparkling wine 13% alcohol, 100ml
- Full strength beer 4.9% alcohol, 285ml glass
- Light beer 2.7% alcohol, 425ml glass
- Cider 4.9% alcohol, 285ml glass
Check out the Drinking Calculator to find out how your drinking measures up.
Information for parents
Guidelines for children and teens under 18
The NHMRC guidelines state that children and teens under 18 should not drink any alcohol. Drinking alcohol can impact brain development up until the age of 25 years – affecting their attention, memory and decision-making.
There are also concerns that early use of alcohol and other drugs by a young person can increase the likelihood of dependence (addiction) and harm in the future.
Having open conversations about alcohol and other drugs is an important part of preparing a young person for situations where they may be around alcohol and other drugs. You can start this conversation from as early as eight years old, to give them the right information and attitudes before they go to high school.
Even though it might seem like they don't listen to a word you say, your kids are watching what you do. Parents play a significant and powerful role in shaping their child’s beliefs and attitudes about alcohol, through their role-modelling.
Whether you're drinking frequently, or having fun and attending social gatherings without always relying on alcohol, watching their parents' behaviour can shape a young person’s understanding of the role alcohol may, or may not, play in their life.
How were the guidelines developed?
The guidelines were developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the leading expert body in health and medical research in Australia.
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 ADF received funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.