Wednesday, December 26, 2018

This survey said I’m from Belarus

Nearly everyone lies about something – and for most people it’s usually about exactly the same thing. It’s also a question that your answer probably depends upon your age and your answer will most likely change over time. But whatever age you are when asked this question the answer will probably be a lie. How much alcohol do you drink?

Now when we’re first asked this question by friends or family – usually in our late teens we’ll probably understate the answer. Then a few years later we’ll overstate it. Then starting from our 30s onwards we’ll go back to understating it.

Examples of answers to the question would be:

19 year old son to mum – Only a couple (despite having had 6). No one wants to tell their mum how much they drink.

Friend to friend in 20s – It was mad and we were out most of the night (despite having had 3 beers and heading home about 10pm). No one wants to admit not being able to party all night.

Friend to friend in 30s or later – We don’t drink much now, mainly wine at dinner parties (forgetting the pre dinner beers plus scotch or brandy afterwards). It’s not seen as mature to over drink.

And I can virtually guarantee that if you’ve ever been asked this question by a doctor you’ve probably lied – I certainly have. I’ve had numerous medicals (usually work related to ensure I’m not going to die on a job) and I’ve just given an answer that is within the recommended healthy guidelines. I’m pretty sure that the majority of people lie on medicals as well – a friend of mine was once a telecoms engineer in the Army and his job entailed repairing telecoms towers on the edge of a military zone. During the night angry, well armed, locals would then try to shoot at these towers, only for my friend to have to repair any damage again the next day. Unsurprisingly, whilst he was in this post he drank a lot and when asked at his medical how many units he drank he replied with 20-25. The doctor replied that this was a little on the high side (recommended 16-20 per week) but nothing exceptional – my friend failed to mention that his figure was a daily, rather than weekly, intake.

But I decided to be honest about my alcohol intake – it wasn’t for a medical and I haven’t shared the results with anyone. But there was a catch – it included the week before Christmas where I’d been to 3 or 4 parties plus had 1 day at a sports event which entailed all day drinking. So it was never going to be truly representative of my average consumption – just a snapshot into a week of my life. 

It was worrying to say the least – I’d consumed over a litre of pure alcohol that week. Dear god how am I still alive but that might explain the sore head then!! The survey said I was unlike any other country but my nearest match was Belarus – the heaviest drinking nation in the world. Inhabitants of Belarus consume about 17.5 litres of pure alcohol per capita each year – compare that to Russians (15.1 litres), Brits (11.6 litres) and Americans (9.2 litres).  

As I said earlier it was never going to be truly representative of my normal intake but it’s certainly worrying that over a short period of time I can drink more in a week than other nations average in a year. But it’s not put me off the beer – if only for this reason

If anyone wants to take this themselves here is the link Please comment with your drinking nationality.


  1. I got Ukraine for my drinking efforts during the last week of 2018 :)

    1. Good work. Anything Baltic or Eastern European is pretty impressive