Know Your Limits

Going Out?

Going out with friends is a part of being in college; going to the movies, to dinner, to a party or just hanging out. Alcohol may be present at these or events or at gatherings before you go out. 

The Choice Is Yours

Remember the choice to drink is always yours.  

Know the Rules

Be certain to understand all local, state and federal laws regarding the use of alcohol. You should also be familiar with Tufts Policies.

What's a "Standard" Drink?

Many people are surprised to learn what counts as a “standard” drink. In the United States, a standard drink is any drink that contains about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol (also known as an alcoholic drink-equivalent). Although the drinks pictured here are different sizes, each contains approximately the same amount of alcohol and counts as one U.S. standard drink or one alcoholic drink-equivalent.

Comparison of the sizes of drinking glasses, and the alcohol content each contains

Each beverage portrayed above represents one U.S. standard drink (also known as an alcoholic drink-equivalent). The percent of pure alcohol, expressed here as alcohol by volume (alc/vol), varies within and across beverage types.

The examples above serve as a starting point for comparison. For different types of beer, wine, or malt liquor, the alcohol content can vary greatly. Some differences are smaller than you might expect, however. Many light beers, for example, have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85 percent as much, or 4.2 percent versus 5.0 percent alcohol by volume (alc/vol), on average.

If you want to know the alcohol content of a canned or bottled beverage, start by checking the label. Not all beverages are required to list the alcohol content, so you may need to search online for a reliable source of information, such as the bottler's website. For fact sheets about how to read wine, malt beverage, and distilled spirits labels, visit the consumer corner of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

Although the U.S. standard drink (alcoholic drink-equivalent amounts) are helpful for following health guidelines, they may not reflect customary serving sizes. In addition, while the alcohol concentrations listed are "typical," there is considerable variability in alcohol content within each type of beverage (e.g., beer, wine, distilled spirits).