Health and Safety
Medical research suggests that the consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol can improve your physical, mental, and emotional health and even increase your longevity. But while moderate drinking may provide some positive health benefits, too much alcohol not only negates the benefits but dramatically increases your risk of serious health problems. In fact, excessive alcohol consumption can harm almost every part of your body over time.
How much is too much? With the varying concentrations of alcoholic drinks and host of factors affecting how it is absorbed and metabolized by the body, a breathalyzer is an essential tool in educating you on how alcohol affects your body.
What is “Moderate” Drinking?
Moderate or low risk drinking is generally defined as no more than one “standard drink” in a day for women and two drinks in a day for men. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines the “standard drink” as one of the following:
- 12 fl oz. of beer @ 5% alcohol, or
- 8-9 fl oz. of malt liquor @ 7% alcohol, or
- 5 fl oz. of table wine @ 12% alcohol, or
- 1.5 fl oz. of 80-proof spirits @ 40% alcohol
By responsible self-testing with a breathalyzer at home, you can learn what these “standard drinks” translate to in terms of your BAC, and experience how they feel. As you raise your awareness and become a more informed and responsible drinker, you no doubt will begin checking alcohol concentrations on your favorite beverages. You may be surprised by what you see! Some light wines can be as low as 8% alcohol, while other Belgian beers and microbrews may clock in at around 12%. The “rules” for what defines a standard drink are not hard and fast. This is why a breathalyzer is an incredibly useful tool for self-education.
Knowing your BACs
Another important thing to keep in mind when testing yourself is that alcohol affects your BAC in a unique way every time you consume it. There are general trends that you will observe with a degree of variance. This is because so many factors affect your BAC, including:
- Your metabolism
- How much food you’ve consumed
- How fast you drank
- Your state of health
- Your weight
- Your age
- Any prescription drugs you may be on.
Owning and using a breathalyzer is critical to understanding how alcohol affects your body. With moderation and regular self-monitoring, you can enjoy the benefits of responsible drinking and avoid long term health problems.
Updated January 2013 by BACtrack.com