New App Tracks Alcohol Content in Cocktails

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Pop quiz! The party's in full swing and someone hands you a drink. Then your friend wants you to try his latest cocktail concoction. An hour later, you pick up a beer. When all is said and done, how many drinks have you had?

A) Three. B) Four and a half (because your friend is known to have a liberal hand) C) Um, what? You're lucky you remembered where you put your purse by the end of the night, much less how much you drank. Correct answer: If you said "A," you might be correct. Maybe? Or perhaps "B?" Admit it, it's more likely to be "C."

It's this confusion that has experts worried, especially for young adults. "People drink more than they realize, and it's hard to keep track of the number of drinks you've had when you don't even know how to count them," says Mark Willenbring, M.D., the founder of the Alltyr addiction recovery center. But a new app called the Cocktail Calculator—developed by the The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)—aims to fix this problem.

The app is fairly simple: All you have to do is enter in the ingredients of what you're drinking. Don't know exactly what you're sipping on? That's okay; the app includes a pre-selected list of drink options. By picking the one closest to what's in your cup, you'll get a general idea of the alcohol content. However, remember that drink strength varies from place to place, so think of the Cocktail Calculator as a general guideline rather than a hard-and-fast rule. The app simply aims to get you tracking the amount of alcohol you're consuming (as a recent study shows, people tend to drink more than they think they do).

What do you think of this app? Would you give it a shot? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!

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