Are you Alcohol Aware?

April 13th, 2021

By Caroline Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN

It is likely that you are aware of alcohol; but are you alcohol aware?  Did you know that 51% of people 12 years of age or older in the U.S. are considered “current drinkers” of alcohol?1  According to the United States Department of Agriculture, while there are some nutrition-related benefits to some alcoholic beverages, individuals who do not drink alcohol should not start drinking.2

Alcohol use can impact teens. Image of three teenagers walking on a street.

Guidelines for Alcohol are Changing

You may have heard that the recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans regarding alcohol intake were going to change, however

 “there was not a preponderance of evidence in the Committee’s review of studies since the 2015-2020 edition to substantiate changes to the quantitative limits for either added sugars or alcohol. Thus, the 2020-2025 edition underscores the importance of limiting added sugars and alcohol intake, and carries forward the quantitative limits from the 2015-2020 edition. USDA and HHS encourage more research on the relationship between added sugars and alcoholic beverages and health, and will continue to monitor the evidence on these topics.” 3

How much alcohol is “one drink?”

For those who do choose to consume alcohol, the latest Guidelines continue to recommend no more than two drinks per day for men and no more than 1 drink per day for women.  You may be asking yourself, what is “one drink” since alcohol comes in a variety of options?  A standard drink is one that contains 13 to 14 grams of alcohol per serving, which equals:4

  • 12 fluid oz of regular beer (5% alcohol)
  • 5 fluid oz of wine (12% alcohol)
  • 1 fluid oz of 80 proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol)

Alcohol use is a top public health concern and April is Alcohol Awareness Month.  The goal of #AlcoholAwarenessMonth is to raise alcohol awareness through various initiatives and activities, reduce the stigma associated with alcohol dependence, and share information on available resources in order to reduce barriers to treatment and recovery.5

Thinking about drinking and not sure what/how much is healthy for you?  Take this quiz:

For more information on calories in alcohol, see the Rethinking your drinking. Alcohol and your health.   National Institutes of Health’s Alcohol Calorie Calculator.


Caroline Passarrello dietitianCaroline Passerrello is a Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and an Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh in the Graduate Future Education Model Dietitian Nutritionist Program.  Caroline is also a co-author on the textbook Human Nutrition Science for Healthy Living 3rd ed. You can reach Caroline on facebook: and





  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. PEP20-07-01-001, NSDUH Series H-55). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from
  2. S. Department of Agriculture. MyPlate: Eat healthy more key topics. Accessed April 12, 2021  
  3. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Most Popular Questions. Accessed April 12, 2021
  4. Stephenson, T., Sanctuary, M. & Passerrello, C. Human nutrition. science for healthy living 3rd (2021). McGraw Hill.
  5. Partners in Prevention. Alcohol Awareness Month 2021 Accessed April 12, 2021





Posted by: Julie Stefanski

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