New Zealanders lack knowledge around alcohol - study

New research has revealed a distinct lack of knowledge New Zealanders have around alcohol.

The survey found many don't know how big a standard drink is, or how long it takes for the body to process one.

Right now, the summer heat seems a good reason to have a drink. However health advocates are warning us not to go too hard.

"How alcohol affects our body and our mind, is hugely important to what we do," says researcher Jude Walker.

It's not just what we do, but that lack of what we know that's causing concern.

It follows a study commissioned by Lion Breweries through research agency Fiftyfive5. It first found fewer than 14 percent of people know what a standard drink really means.

So what is a standard drink?

"A standard drink is based on 10 grams of pure alcohol, so it's going to depend on what beverage of choice you've got," Ms Walker says.

That means a standard drink for a five percent beer is just 255 millilitres of liquid, and for a wine, only about a hundred millilitres.

A restaurant or bar typically pours a larger glass, meaning people often don't realise the number of standards they're having.

The study also found people aren't sure how long it takes to process their booze.

"So when the back of that label on that beer bottle says 1.3 standard drinks, it's telling you it's going to take 1.3 hours to process the alcohol in that bottle and there's no way to speed that process up," Ms Walker says.

Researchers say it's also a real problem that many Kiwis don't know when it's safe to drive the next day, after a big night out.

Everyone processes alcohol in different ways, meaning some can handle more and some, less. The best advice if you're unsure about getting in the car, don't drive at all.

So while it might be a good idea to have a quiet drink in the summer sun, it might pay to know what affect that's likely to have.


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