Archive for June, 2010

Alcohol and Units – What Does It All Mean?

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Dietitians may well encourage you to drink as little as possible, after all alcoholic drinks are usually full of calories, once you have one you tend to drink another and you can very quickly pile on the pounds!

However the official guidelines are -
Men are advised to drink no more than 3 to 4 units a day.
Women are advised to drink no more than 2 to 3 units a day.  

So what is a unit?  1 unit is equal to - 

  • ½ pint beer Alcohol
  • 1 glass wine
  • 1 measure of spirits

The government recommended safe limits are: 

  • Men 21 units per week
  • Women 14 units per week

The list below shows the number of units of alcohol in common drinks –  

A pint of ordinary strength lager 

(e.g. Heineken, Fosters) 

2 units 

A pint of strong lager 

(e.g. Stella Artois, Kronenbourg 1664) 

3 units 

A pint of ordinary strength cider 

(e.g. Bulmers, Cashels) 

2 units 

A pint of ordinary strength stout 

(e.g. Guiness, Murphys) 

2 units 

A 175ml glass of red or white wine 

Around 2 units 

A pub measure of spirits 

1 unit 

An alcopop 

(e.g. Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Breezer, WKD) 

Around 1.5 units 


How do you change your drinking habits? 

  • Try to eat before you drink, so you won’t miss out on essential nutrients.
  • Try non-alcoholic drinks instead of alcohol.
  • Dilute alcoholic drinks with low calorie mixers or water.
  • Try drinking more slowly – take smaller sips and pace your drinking.
  • Refrain from drinking for 48 hours after a heavy drinking occasion.
  • Don’t snack while drinking alcohol, remember that eating crisps and nuts will add to the calories and fat you consume. Salty foods will make you thirstier.

Why Eat More Fruit and Vegetables?

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables will give you plenty of vitamins and mi5adaynerals. For example, many are naturally high in folic acid, vitamin C and potassium. Fruit and vegetables are also a good source of fibre and other substances, such as antioxidants. All these nutrients are important for your health. Fruit and vegetables are generally low fat and low calorie foods. So eating fruit and vegetables instead of foods that are high in fat and added sugars may help you achieve or keep to a healthy weight.


Fruit and vegetables can help protect you from diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Try to have at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In fact, the more you eat the better! Fresh, frozen, chilled, canned in juice (not syrup), 100% fruit juice, and dried fruit and vegetables all count.


f&vCheck the table below to find out what counts as one portion. How many do you eat a day?


If you are not yet eating 5 a day, then build up to this amount (or more!).


Try to choose 5 different fruits and vegetables.


But what is a portion?

ONE portion = 80g = any of these
1 apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit
2 plums or similar sized fruit
½ a grapefruit or avocado
1 slice of large fruit, such as melon or pineapple
3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or tinned)
3 heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses (however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of one portion a day)
3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad (fresh or tinned in fruit juice) or stewed fruit
1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots)
1 handful of grapes, cherries or berries
a dessert bowl of salad
a glass (150ml) of fruit juice (however much you drink, fruit juice counts as a maximum of one portion a day)

Tips: a day’s worth might be: a banana and a glass of fruit juice with breakfast, salad and an apple with lunch, and carrots with your dinner.