How much alcohol is drinkable

When is alcohol harmful?

Many people wonder how much alcohol is harmful. In Germany, men and women are recommended different maximum levels, which are considered to be low-risk. Current studies show slightly different values.

It is not easy to study the health effects of alcohol in detail because alcohol can have adverse effects on many different organs and areas of life. There are different international recommendations for low-risk drinking. The German Central Office for Addiction Issues recommends

  • not to drink alcohol for at least two days a week.
  • that women drink no more than 12 grams of alcohol per day, i.e. no more than a small glass of wine (0.125 liters). This corresponds to 60 grams over a week with two alcohol-free days.
  • that men do not drink more than 24 grams of alcohol per day, i.e. two small glasses of beer (0.6 liters). This corresponds to 120 grams over a week with two alcohol-free days.

Two large international research groups have studied the health effects of alcohol. Their conclusion is:

Anyone who drinks less than 100 grams of alcohol per week on average does little or no harm to their health. 100 to 200 grams of alcohol per week shorten life expectancy on average by half a year, 200 to 350 grams by two years and more than 350 grams by five years. There was no difference between men and women.

Important is: The study results apply to healthy adults. It is important to remain abstinent for people who have been treated for alcohol addiction and are no longer drinking alcohol. Otherwise the risk for you is very high. It is also advisable not to drink alcohol for people with other addictions, as they can be prone to alcohol addiction.