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If I drink, how much should I be drinking?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

The Guidelines define a standard drink as the equivalent of:

  • 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (for example, gin, rum, vodka, whiskey)

What are the risks associated with drinking?

Excessive alcohol use kills 88,000 Americans each year, and there are significant short- and long term health risks associated with binge drinking and heavy drinking.

Binge drinking—consuming four or more drinks during a single occasion for women or five or more drinks during a single occasion for men—is the most common form of excess drinking. Its health risks include a weakened immune system, injuries, motor vehicle accidents, violence, alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behaviors and miscarriage.

Women who consume eight or more alcoholic drinks per week and men who consume 15 or more alcoholic drinks per week are considered heavy drinkers. Heavy drinking can lead to chronic diseases, such as:

  • alcoholism
  • cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon and breast
  • high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems
  • learning and memory problems
  • mental health problems (depression and anxiety)

Avoid excess drinking and you can reduce your risk of these short- and long-term health risks. To learn more about the alcohol consumption and its dangers, visit

Please note: Preventive care services and screenings are only covered when rendered by an in-network doctor or other health care professional.