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Frequently asked questions
Using DrinkControl on iPhone
Using DrinkControl on Android phone
There is no one definition of moderate drinking as what one person considers to be moderate drinking, another person may view as heavy drinking. That said, moderate or "safe" drinking may be defined as drinking that does not generally cause problems, neither to the drinkers themselves nor to the society.
Alcohol may affect different people differently and the recommendations vary considerably around the world, but the general idea behind consuming alcohol moderately is associated with better health and greater longevity.
There are some groups of people who should not consume alcohol at all, or should limit its use to less than the
amounts mentioned in guidelines. These groups are:
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant;
People who plan to drive or engage in other activities that require alertness and skill (such as driving a car);
People taking certain over-the-counter or prescription medications;
People with medical conditions that can be made worse by drinking;
People younger than the age of 18-21 (depends on country specific regulations).
Countries express alcohol intake in 'units' or 'standard drinks' when recommending alcohol intake. Official 'standard drinks' or 'units' generally contain between 8 and 14 grams of pure ethanol, although the measure varies among countries.
There is no consensus internationally on a single standard drink size. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services define moderate drinking as up to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. In the UK, the guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DH) in 1995 recommend a maximum daily alcohol intake of 3−4 and 2−3 units for men and women, respectively. Any occasion on which a person drinks more than the daily recommended limit should be followed by 48 alcohol-free hours. Other countries have other guidelines.
The standard drink is used in many countries to quantify alcohol intake and means a notional drink that contains a specified amount of pure alcohol. One standard drink always contains the same amount of alcohol regardless of container size or type of alcoholic beverage and is usually re-expressed as a measure of beer, wine, or spirits. The effects of the various kinds of alcoholic beverages are evaluated based on the amount of pure alcohol contained in the beverage and the size of a standard drink. For example, in the United States a standard drink is 14g / 18 mililitres / 0.6 fluid ounces of pure alcohol but in Australia, Ireland, Italy, Poland or Spain a standard drink is 10g / 12.7 millilitres of alcohol.
In the United Kingdom, units of alcohol are used as a guideline for the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The strength of an alcoholic drink is indicated by the percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV). A unit corresponds to approximately 8 g (or 10 ml) of pure alcohol, regardless of the amount of liquid in which it is diluted. For instance, half a pint of beer (ABV 3.5%) or a small glass of wine (ABV 12−14%) is the equivalent of 1 unit.
Binge drinking is the modern definition of drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time.
Currently there is no world wide consensus on how many drinks constitute a "binge", but, for example, in the United States The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when a woman has 4+ drinks or a man has 5+ drinks in a row on a single occasion, within a couple of hours.
One gram of ethyl alcohol yields 7 Calories (kcal - dietary calories / nutritional calories) of energy when metabolized by the body. The total calorie content of an alcoholic beverage includes the calories from the alcohol itself, and calories from other components of the beverage (residual sugars or grains in beers and wines, for example).
DrinkControl shows you amount of Calories of the alcohol within drinks but do not provide information on Calories from other components as different drinks can include different amount of these (e.g. wines with the same alcohol volume can contain different amount of residual sugars). Estimating amount of Calories is specially hard in cocktails as these can include number of other (sometimes very rich on Calories) components. Therefore total amount of Calories you have consumed with alcohol probably is higher (unless you consume only spirits) than shown on the Calories chart.
Alcohol itself contains only "empty calories" and has no nutritional value. High levels of calories in most alcoholic drinks can account for a large percentage of your daily energy requirements. Your body can't store alcohol, so it must metabolize it right away. It is estimated that "empty calories" should not exeed 10-15% of your total daily calorie needs.
In the USA moderate alcohol consumption recommendations are elaborated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. According to the "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015" standard drink is 14g (0.6 fl oz). For most adults, moderate alcohol use should not exceed more than up to two standard drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women and older people. One drink equals one 12-ounce bottle of beer (5% alcohol), one 5-ounce glass of wine (12% alcohol), or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol).
Excessive drinking is considered consumption of 4 or more drinks on any day or 8 or more drinks per week for women and 5 or more drinks on any day or 15 or more drinks per week for men. Binge drinking is the consumption within about 2 hours of 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men.
In the UK moderate alcohol consumption recommendations are elaborated by the Department of Health. In January 8, 2016 Department of Health published new UK Chief Medical Officers’ Alcohol Guidelines (effective from 1 January, 2016 and under public consultation process until 1 April, 2016). New guidelines do not set daily drinking limits and recommends both for men and women not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week. If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more.
Previous guidelines "NHS Choices. Drinking and alcohol, 2011" stated that men should not regularly drink more than three to four units of alcohol per day and in any case no more than 21 units per week. Women should not regularly drink more than two to three units of alcohol per day and no more than 14 units per week. You should also take a break for 48 hours after a heavy session to let your body recover. Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. Neither it is recommended to practice binge drinking (saving up your units for the weekend and consuming more than twice the maximum recommended daily intake of alcohol).
In Canada moderate alcohol consumption recommendations are elaborated by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. Detailed guidelines - Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.
A standard drink in Canada is 13.6grams (0.5oz) and defined as 12 fl.ounces of beer; 5 fl.ounces of wine; or 1.5 fl.ounces of spirits. As a general guideline women should not drink more than two standard drinks a day and men should not drink more than three standard drinks a day. Men should not exceed 15 drinks per week and women no more than ten drinks per week. Non-drinking days every week should be planned to avoid developing a habit. On single occasions it is recommeded drinking no more than 3 drinks for women and 4 drinks for men.
In Germany moderate alcohol consumption recommendations are elaborated by the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany (Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung or BzGA).
According to the responsible drinking guidelines for adult low risk consumption a standard drink is 10g. Men should not exceed two standard drinks per day while women should not exceed one standard drink per day. BZgA also recommends at least two days of abstinence from alcohol a week. Excessive drinking is considered 4 and more drinks per day for women and 5 or more drinks per day for men.
The World Health Organization (WHO) was established in 1948 as the specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for directing and coordinating authority for international health matters and public health. For the countries where there are no official government guidelines, such as Belgium, China, Germany, Hungary, India, Russia and many others it is recommended that the World Health Organisation low risk responsible drinking guidelines are followed. Alcohol consumption guidelines are described in publication "World Health Organization. Self-help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use, 2011".
According to guidelines a standard drink is 10g (330 ml beer can at 5% alcohol or 100ml glass of wine at 12% alcohol). For adults low risk consumption is up to two drinks a day and at least two days of the week when you do not drink (so up to 10 drinks per week total).
Previous WHO guidelines recommeded not to exceed four drinks on any single occasion and had stated low risk limits for weekly alcohol consumption (up to 21 drinks for men and up to 14 units for women).
The summary/home screen of DrinkControl shows three status bars of your daily, last 7 days (not calendar week) and last 30 days (not calendar month) alcohol consumption. Status bar colors in Summary tab as well as colors of lines in Statistics tab have a specific meaning.
Today (1d) Bar:
- blue means that you haven't consumed more alcohol than the average recommended alcohol units per day.
- violet means that you have consumed more than the recommended daily units (but below binge drinking).
- red means that you have reached the binge drinking level.
Last 7 Days (7d) Bar
- blue means that you are below maximum recommended alcohol
units limit for week (aka last 7 days) and during last 7 days you haven't surpassed the binge drinking
limit in none of the days.
- violet means that you haven't consumed more than the maximum recommended amount of alcohol units per week (during last 7 days) but that you have surpassed the binge drinking level at least once during the last 7 days.
- red means that you've consumed more than the maximum recommended alcohol units per week.
Last 30 Days (30d) Bar
Typically there are no maximum recommended monthly alcohol limits in most of the countries.
DrinkControl defines the monthly limit by applying the weekly limit proportionally for a 30 day
period (4.5 weeks).
- blue means that you haven't consumed more alcohol than the monthly limit.
- red means that you've been drinking above the monthly limit.
DrinkControl accounts all the drinks consumed until 7:00am on the previous day and will automatically act this way if you enter the drinks early in the morning.
Let's say, if you go out on Saturday evening and stay in a club or a bar till the early hours, all the drinks you enter after midnight will count towards Saturday and not towards Sunday unless you keep going after 7:00am when the drinks start being registered on Sunday. This approach helps you to be aware of the levels of alcohol you're consuming undiluted in time and in one go, therefore it depicts your drinking patterns more precisely.
Unfortunately not at the moment. You can choose between limits from different health organizations in [Settings].
Not yet. DrinkControl uses currency settings from your phone default regional settings. You can recalculate price on your own and enter the price in your default currency if you wish to do so. It is also possible to leave the Price field empty if it is insignificant to you.
Tap on the [Calendar] tab, pick a date and tap on the corresponding drink in that day.
Using DrinkControl On iPhone
If you opened DrinkControl and noticed some unusual changes in the drinking limits - it's not a bug and nothing is wrong with your phone or app. There are some very important changes in the latest app version (4.9) that you might have not noticed if have set your phone to update apps to latest versions automatically.
From time to time organisations responsible for health policy update their recommendations for moderate/low-risk alcohol consumption or publish new guidelines. In DrinkControl version 4.9 we have updated limits in the app to match these latest recommendations updates:
- Increased USA weekly limit for both man and woman from new "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015" by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Reduced UK weekly limits for man from new "UK Chief Medical Officers’ Alcohol Guidelines" effective from 1 January, 2016 (daily limits kept from previous guidelines as new guidelines does not specify daily limit)
- Reduced Canada binge limits from updated "Canada's Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines" by Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
- Reduced WHO daily/weekly limits from "Self-help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use" by World Health Organization
- Increased Germany binge limit, reduced weekly limit by Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung.
Another important update in app version 4.9 is more accurate reporting for daily, weekly and monthly consumption - reaching moderate drinking limit (e.g. when consumed 2.0 units on 2 units limit) does not mean that you have stepped over moderate drinking line. This does not apply to binge limit reporting as all guidelines clearly states that reaching limit for binge/excessive drinking means you have already stepped over the line.
Go to the app [Settings] tab and choose [Home screen style]-[Just info]. You can also set background of your choice for home screen by choosing option [Custom background] in [Settings] tab for [Home screen style] option - after that longtap (tap and hold your finger) on the background in the [Today] tab until [Change bacground] button appears.
It is possible to maintain drink history in [Calendar] tab as well - first choose the date when you have taken drink and then tap on [Add Drink] button. Tapping existing drink in the Calendar will open it in Edit mode.
Sure. Go to [Settings-Customize Your Drinks] (available in DrinkControl paid version or if you have enabled this feature using in-app payment in DrinkControl Lite). Hide drinks you don't like with [On|Off] switches. Tap [Edit] to reorder list according to your preferences.
We have included the most popular drinks. If you can't find a drink of your choice you can add your own under [Settings-Customize Your Drinks] drinks by pressing [Add new drink] (available in DrinkControl paid version or if you have enabled this feature using in-app payment in DrinkControl Lite). Enter the name of the drink, choose most appropriate icon and default alcohol volume for it.
On iPhone use of metric or imperial units at the moment is tied with moderate drinking limits you choose in [Settings-Recommendations]. Recommendations for USA and Canada are displayed in imperial units. Rest of the Recommendations are shown with metric units.
Tap to fill in the price you've paid for the drink. If you paid for several drinks (count picker allows to opt for more than one) please enter the price only for one drink as the total price will be calculated automatically. After some time DrinkControl will be able to calculate the average price for the drink. Then you can insert the price with a single tap on [Average price] that will be shown below.
Tap on the [Calendar] tab, pick a date and tap on [Edit] button in navigation bar. Alternatively you can swipe from right to left on the drink to delete it.
Yes, you can save/share your stats using Share button in [Stats] tab. For example you can email stats to yourself. When you share stats on Facebook or Twitter, they will be shared as a wall post/tweet with your own comment.
Please think twice before sharing your stats visible to everyone (your drinking stats might be fun for your friends but not so much for employer). You can adjust who can see your wall posts in Privacy settings in your Facebook account as well as individually for your post.
Using DrinkControl on Android
To enable premium features (disable ads and get extra reporting periods up to the year) we rely on premium text messages (SMS) (your credit card is not required). We use well known and trusted Fortumo mobile payments service for processing mobile payments as alternative to Google Play payments available in most countries.
That is the reason app asks for permission to send and read your text messages.
Go to Settings (tap Menu button on your Android device), then select Premium features and press button "See price and confirm purchase". You will see price in your local currency (usually around 2 USD, it depends on the country/mobile operator) and if you decide to buy premium features at that price, just confirm purchase by pressing "Buy" button (or use Back button if you dicide not to). No text messages will be sent without your confirmation. Please note that in some countries/mobile operators the cost of 1 standard sms text message might be added to the end user price.
Unfortunately paid features are not yet available on all countries/local mobile operators (some of them approve mobile payments only for big service providers). Sorry. We hope to add alternate payment methods over time.