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Do you know what’s in your drink?

alcohol, drinking

Avoiding the "not so fun" alcohol effects with mindful drinking

Do you know what’s in your drink? Not all drinks are created equal when it comes to alcohol content. The United States defines one drink containing about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of “pure” alcohol. The amount of “pure” alcohol is stated on the beverage container in the form of alcohol by volume (alc/vol), which differs by the beverage.

Source: Grand Forks Air Force Base

The prototypical alcohol content for beer is five percent, wine at 12 percent, and 80 proof for hard liquor. However, the content for beer, wine, or hard liquor can vary. For instance, a 12 oz. craft-style beer may have a higher alcohol content at nine percent than a standard no-frills beer containing five percent alcohol. Even light beers contain only minimally decreased alcohol content, such as 4.2 percent.

Mindful reading

The alcohol content is often noted on the side of the can or bottle, but not always. You may have to go to the product’s website to determine the alcohol content. Being mindful of alcohol content helps you adjust your intake by targeting what is equitable to one drink. By doing so, you prevent unhealthy outcomes from too much alcohol.

Mindful bar or party time

When you are at a bar and ordering mixed drinks, the alcohol content can vary from bar to bar. However, you can ask the bartender to go light on the alcohol, especially if it is a bar having a reputation for strong drinks. At a house party, mixed beverages such as “jungle juice” are a big question mark when it comes to alcohol content. It is actually smarter to stay away from “jungle juice” because the alcohol content can be beyond safe limits, and other dangerous substances may make their way into the juice comprising your health and safety.

Mindful awareness

Being more aware of what is in your drink can help you and your friends be safe when drinking. It is really about reducing the not-so-good things that can happen with over-consumption of alcohol (e.g. vomiting, impairment, poor judgment, aggression, alcohol poisoning, liver issues, and drunk driving). Unfortunately, the not-so-good things can change your life in seconds. Instead, choose mindful awareness and build a conscious and healthy relationship with alcohol, increasing your wellbeing while in college and in life ahead.