Downing Three Shots of Vodka is the Same as Drinking a Glass of Wine

Downing Three Shots of Vodka is the Same as Drinking a Glass of Wine

Season of mirth and mellow drunkenness don't let hangovers spoil your fun this Christmas

Season of mirth and mellow drunkenness: don’t let hangovers spoil your fun this Christmas. Source:

Enjoying a glass of wine after work does the same harm as drinking three shots of vodka, the head of Public Health England has warned as he said alcohol was becoming the “silent killer” of working age Britons.

Duncan Selbie said that deaths from liver disease of working age people have increased by 500 per cent since the 1970s because many arrive home, “pour a glass and have no idea how much they are drinking”.

MPs say that people are safer enjoying an alcoholic drink in their local pub as measures are controlled rather than buying large quantities of wine at “rock bottom prices” in supermarkets and drinking in a “non-sociable atmosphere away from people’s communities”.

They also warn that drinking at home is problematic among the middle classes who have developed the habit of pouring a large glass of wine or two at the end of the day.

Writing in his weekly briefing to staff Mr Selbie said liver disease is now the third biggest killer of working age adults: “And it is a silent killer, with 75 per cent of people with cirrhosis only being diagnosed once they are admitted to hospital.”

He added that the illness is “largely preventable” but that one of the biggest risk factors, alcohol, was difficult to control. He wrote: “For example, a large glass of wine is like three shots of vodka, so it is very easy for people to pour a glass and have no idea how much they are drinking.”

Last week the Lancet commission recommended that Liver scans should be offered by GPs as it said middle-class drinking is turning Britain into the capital of Europe for alcohol-related disease.

Senior doctors have said too many people were treating alcohol dependence as “a lifestyle choice, like Armani jeans” and that Britain is now the only country apart from Finland in Western Europe in which prevalence of liver disease is increasing.

Greg Mulholland, the Liberal Democrat MP and chair of the All Parliamentary Save the Pub Group, said that if people enjoyed a drink in the “social atmosphere” of the pub rather than behind closed doors it was easier for them to keep track of their drinking.

He said: “The evidence clearly shows that where measures are controlled, and where there is a landlord who has a legal responsibility not to serve people who have had too much to drink, that it is clearly is a much better place for people to enjoy alcohol.

“What the Government needs to do now is stop so many pubs being turned into supermarkets where, ironically, alcohol is then sold at rock bottom prices in an unsupervised way and is then drunk in a non-sociable atmosphere away from people’s communities.”

Tracey Crouch, the former chair of the All Parliamentary Alcohol Misuse Group, and a Conservative MP, said: “The middle class professional is coming home of an evening and pouring themselves a glass of wine with dinner, and then possibly another after that, without realising that over the course of a week it can tot up to more than what is medically advised.

“I’m really pleased that Public Health England has raised this, because raising awareness of this is not about telling people they cannot drink, it is about getting people to understand the drinking habits they have, and it does become a habit, it becomes a habitual part of your evening rather than some sort of special occasion when people enjoy a glass of wine.

“People will see it is a very different thing pouring a glass of wine to pouring a three measure vodka, but this is why it’s important to have calorific content on the labels – you wouldn’t pour three shots of vodka but you also wouldn’t sit down and eat six doughnuts either – but you tend to pour yourself a large measure of wine not a small glass.

“If you look at liver disease maps there is a perception that it is all going to be deprived areas but actually you see a significant increase in the number of people who are more affluent who are getting liver disease.”

Baroness Hayter, the Labour peer, said: “Wine is stronger, and the ordinary wines you buy, we just don’t look at how strong it is – we assume all wine is the same per cent and it isn’t it can vary enormously… glasses are getting bigger and it is actually quite serious. It sounds silly but it means you can suddenly be drinking two units instead of one.”

Fiona Bruce, the Conservative MP, said: “This is an issue we need to take much more seriously, and revise our view of the binge drinker as a teenager out late at night.

“Increasingly too high levels of alcohol consumption are occurring in the home by older age groups and we all have a responsibility to challenge and help address this.”

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