HealthWellbeing

Alcohol and Me

By 12th November 2019 No Comments

This week sees the launch of ‘’Alcohol and me’’ as alcohol plays a role in many of our lives, even if we don’t realise it.

Alcohol awareness week runs from 11-17 November to highlight just what impacts your drinking habits may have on our behaviour, our wellbeing, and our work.

From a long-term perspective, the Alcohol Awareness Week will highlight the impact that alcohol can have on our bodies, our lives and those we love. Even if we are making small changes to our drinking behaviour, we can become healthier, happier, and reduce our risk for many serious health conditions including cancer, mental health problems, and liver disease. ​Furthermore, for those of us who are watching our weight, reducing how much alcohol we drink is one way to better manage the number of calories we consume (www.alcoholchange.org.uk).

According to RSPH (2014), research has shown that the general population has a relatively poor awareness of the number of calories in their drinks. A survey of over 2,000 UK adults in 2014 showed that over 80% of people did not know or underestimated the number of calories in a large glass of wine, and over 60% of people did not know or underestimated the number of calories in a pint of lager.

From a short-term perspective, as well as being the most widely used recreational drug in the UK, alcohol for most the only recreational drug they use.

Since almost all recreational drugs, apart from alcohol and tobacco, are illegal in the UK, it can be hard to find out what’s being used and how often. We do know that there is a very wide range of drugs being used in the UK

At the one extreme you might have a driver who drinks heavily on a occasion while on duty, and then drives and crashes a company vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. At the other extreme, you might have a clerk who occasionally smells of alcohol at the workplace but approaches the employer of his own free will for assistance with alcohol dependency. While these situations clearly require different approaches, there could be several situations in between that each requires a slightly different approach.

Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace is not easy.

Employers have to have consent if they want to test for drugs. Usually this is when they have a full contractual health and safety policy, which should be in the contract or staff handbook.

Employers should:

  • limit testing to employees that need to be tested
  • ensure the tests are random
  • not to single out employees for testing unless this is justified by the nature of their jobs

Workers can’t be made to take a drugs test but if they refuse when the employer has good grounds for testing, they may face disciplinary action.

That’s why Latus Health can carry out neutral, professional random drug and alcohol testing. As well implement a wellbeing strategy for all your company’s employees, that educates, motivates, and quantifies the changes made within the workplace. One of our main differentiators as a health company that stands us ahead of our competitors is our innovative, engaging approach to employee wellbeing.

The table below provides an estimate of the total calories found in different types of alcoholic beverages. Use our unit and calories calculator to find the number of units and calories in your favourite drink.

Type of drink Size Alcohol by volume (ABV) Units Calories (kcal)
Standard glass of wine 175ml 12% 2.1 158
Large glass of wine 250ml 12% 3.0 225
Beer, lager, cider Pint (568ml) 5.2% 3.0 222
Spirits (neat) 25ml 40% 1.0 50

Mixing alcohol with other drugs:

[1] RSPH (2014) Increasing awareness of ‘invisible’ calories from alcohol, available at https://www.rsph.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/979245d2-7b5d-4693-a9b3fb1b98b68d76.pdf

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