A Trifle Too Tipsy

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- One in ten designated drivers risk being tipped over the limit by boozy Christmas puddings -

Thursday 15th December 2011: New research out today reveals that 43 per cent of ‘designated’ drivers do not believe that the alcohol contained in popular Christmas puddings counts towards their drink-drive limit and almost three quarters (72 per cent) do not ask their host about the alcohol content.

A new study(1) by esure car insurance which used a nutritionist to determine the alcohol content in popular festive puddings found that an average serving of Christmas pudding contains almost half a unit of alcohol, while many popular seasonal favourites contain up to 0.88 per serving.

Alarmingly 13 per cent of motorists who say that they are ‘designated’ drivers over the festive period admit that they have previously consumed a pudding with alcohol in it despite already being at or near the drink drive limit.

Over a third of British motorists (36 per cent) on driving duties will have either a glass of wine or pint of beer at a function – while 13 per cent will consume more, putting them dangerously close to - or pushing them over the legal limit(2).

Most Potent Christmas Puddings:

Christmas pudding is especially high in alcohol, even after its long cooking. Each serving can contain almost half a unit (0.3) of alcohol, according to nutritionist Dr. Carina Norris who conducted the test. In addition to the Christmas puddings are potent extras for puddings which include brandy/rum butter (0.4 units per serving) and Rum custard (0.6 units per serving).

Almost a third or Brits polled (32 per cent) said they are confused by units of alcohol, while more than half (57 per cent) said they rely solely on their own judgement as to whether they are over the drink-drive limit.

The limit is set at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. The government advises that people should not exceed the daily unit guidelines of 3-4 units for men and three units for women. This means that a female driver who drinks a standard glass of wine (2.45 units) with one serving of Christmas pudding (0.3 units) and rum custard (0.6 units) will be over the limit. For male drivers, a pint-and-a-half of medium strength lager at four per cent (3.45 units) combined with a single serving of Christmas pudding (0.3 units) with rum butter (0.4 units) will tip them over the limit.

The research also showed that Brits attend an average of just under three dinner parties during December. Almost one in ten (eight per cent) will drive to these events during the festive period – yet 32 per cent of these drivers admit that they don’t know how many units of alcohol are in a pint of beer (2.3 units per pint for medium-strength lager at four per cent) or glass of wine (2.45 units per standard glass, 175mls).

Nutritionist Dr Norris said: “It’s easy to go over the limit when you are preparing dishes if you add your alcohol straight from the bottle by the ‘glug’. The two tablespoons of brandy a recipe calls for can easily become a whole glass. It’s best to go easy when adding spirits or liqueurs to desserts.”

Mike Pickard, Head of Risk and Underwriting at esure car insurance, said: “Puddings are a delicious way to end to an evening, but dinner guests on driving duty need to be aware of the amounts of alcohol these treats contain and make sure that it doesn’t lead them to the end of their driving if caught whilst driving over the legal limit.

“Our advice to any ‘designated’ driver over the festive period is to plan ahead and pre-book a taxi home - that way you can enjoy your Christmas pudding and even ask for seconds!”

- Ends -

esure’s press contacts:
For further information please contact the esure press office at Mischief PR on 020 7100 9999 or email esure@mischiefpr.com

An ISDN line is available for radio interviews.

Notes to Editors:
(1) esure used the independent online research company FlyResearch who surveyed 1,009 Brits from a nationally representative sample between 19th November and 21st November 2011. FlyResearch is an online market research company. Its researches are members of the MRS, PRCA, BPC and Esomar, and abide by their guidelines. Further information is available at www.FlyResearch.com 
(2) Further information on drink drive limits can be found by visiting: http://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/drink-driving 

About Dr. Carina Norris:
Carina is a registered nutritionist, journalist and an author. She was the nutritionist for Channel 4’s Turn Back Your Body Clock and wrote the book to accompany the series. Other works include You Are What You Eat. Carina’s PhD research on children’s nutrition was covered in the national media and radio. For more information, see http://www.carinanorris.co.uk