As the warmer weather approaches, I've been noticing more people spending time outside, sitting on a deck and enjoying the sun, fresh air, friendly conversation, and...fish bowl drinks!
Recently, I went to a restaurant with my sister, and we both ordered a margarita. I had no idea that this ONE drink I ordered would be put into a fish bowl-like container, and would actually count as TWO or more drinks.
I realize this is nothing new, that restaurants and fast food chains continue to "supersize" our food and beverages, but what are the consequences of a supersized alcoholic beverage? Beyond the obvious increased caloric content than I wanted, the alcohol content is also increased by 43% in these drinks (according to PHI research, link below).
My usual goal is to have a nice refreshing beverage with my sister, along with a meal, and be able to drive home within the hour. I am surprised that the default drink is this over-sized amount, and unfortunately, the alcohol content is not readily available on the drink menu. I left wondering, how much alcohol did I actually drink?!
The Public Health Institute conducted research on 80 restaurant and bar establishments, analyzing more than 300 drinks, and found that, "...the average glass of wine was 43 percent larger than a standard drink. The average draft beer was 22 percent larger and drinks mixed with spirits were 42 percent larger than a standard drink."
One of the PHI researchers stated, "some consumers are clearly happy when they get more alcohol", but most times when I order a drink at a restaurant or bar, I am planning to drive and/or engage in another activity and do not want to be impaired or buzzed.
Clearly, the problem is the "unexpected" consumption of higher alcohol content drinks, and as PHI researchers said, "this could have significant and possibly damaging consequences".
What can you do?
If your goal is similar to the majority of adults, who would like a drink or two with dinner, and be able to engage in other activities without being impaired, then it is important to know what a standard drink measurement is...since the restaurants won't tell you.
A standard drink is:
- 12 ounces of beer (4% alcohol content)
- 1.5 ounces of undiluted spirits ("shot") if 80-proof (40% alcohol content)
- 1 ounce of undiluted spirts ("shot") if 100-proof (50% alcohol content)
- 5 ounces of wine (10% alcohol content)
- 4 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
I have a difficult time knowing how many ounces are in a glass, but when I think about a can of beer (that's easy, it is 12 ounces), then compare this amount with your wine: a 5 ounce wine should fill below the middle of the glass, if a typical 12 ounce glass container. You can ask your server, "how much wine is this?" when you order a glass (without sounding "uncool!"), and they should be able to tell you.
The same measurements apply when ordering a draught beer; they usually ask if you want the "12, 16 or 20 ounce". Just know the 12 ounce is one standard drink, and ordering more ounces equals more alcohol.
Click here for more standard drink conversions.
What about if you are sharing a bottle of wine at the table with friends?
A 25 ounce bottle of 10% alcohol would equal 5 standard drinks
(you can impress your friend with that knowledge!)
Have fun and enjoy the nice weather as it becomes warmer, and it helps to plan before you drink, and know your low-risk strategies for drinking, just as many people plan out their meals, bring sunscreen and sunglasses to sit outside...just take a few minutes to plan what you are going to drink, too!
Can you share with us: what are your strategies for drinking alcohol beverages in a low-risk manner?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.