Versão em Português

What is moderate drinking?

09 Mai 2022

Understand the definition of this concept, which may vary from one country to another and must consider individual characteristics.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there is no pattern of alcohol consumption that is absolutely safe. The impacts of the harmful use of this substance have led several governments to adopt guidelines that define what would be moderate drinking, or a level of drinking with low risk of developing health problems. These guidelines, based on several studies, also take into account the short- and long-term consequences related to alcohol.

But what is moderate drinking anyway?

WHO defines a standard drink equal to 10g of pure ethanol, and recommends that men and women do not exceed two standard drinks a day and refrain from drinking at least two days a week. The renowned institution NIAAA – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism establishes a standard drink of 14g of pure ethanol and guides women to limit their consumption to one standard drink per day and men to up to two per day.

Currently, there are no official definitions for standard drink and moderate drinking in Brazil. Based on scientific references and consultations with websites specialized in different types of drinks and taking into account the sizes and the percentage of pure alcohol in the drinks most consumed in Brazil, CISA considers that a standard dose corresponds to 14g of pure ethanol in the Brazilian context.

It is worth remembering that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is absolutely unacceptable in certain situations, denominated “zero alcohol”, such as for people younger than age 18, pregnant women, people with alcohol use disorder and who are going to drive vehicles. You can read more about these conditions here: Zero alcohol: when no amount of alcohol should be consumed.




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CISA, Information Center on Alcohol and Health