Always end up having too much wine? Pour it into a SMALLER glass

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Always end up having too much wine? Pour it into a SMALLER glass: Psychologists say simple trick will help you drink less

Those who drink from a small wine glass consume 7% less than large glass users Cambridge University researchers said difference was 250ml less per fortnightThey called for rules on the size of glasses in pubs, bars and restaurants

By Emily Craig Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 06:22 EDT, 12 September 2022 | Updated: 06:47 EDT, 12 September 2022

If you often moan about how you've ended up drinking one too many Sauvignon Blancs, you are definitely not alone.

But scientists say they've uncovered a simple trick that could help you avoid that sore head the next day.

Pour wine into a smaller glass than usual and you will unwittingly drink less wine, according to the latest theory.

Those who followed the practice consumed roughly seven per cent less, despite being allowed to guzzle as much red or white as they normally would.

Cambridge University researchers have now called for bigger glasses to be more expensive in shops — and for pubs and restaurants to only use small glasses.

Drinking from a smaller goblet slashes the amount of wine consumed by nearly seven per cent, according to a Cambridge University study. The researchers, who measured the intake of more than 250 UK households, saw the effect when Britons drank from a 290ml glass (right) rather than a 350ml glass (left)

The Cambridge team recruited 260 households — which consumed at least two 75cl bottles of wine per week — to study how wine glass size affected their drinking habit. During two 14-day periods, participants were asked to buy their usual amount of with in either 75cl (right) or 37.5cl (left) bottles

The findings, published in the journal Addiction , show that using a smaller glass slashed the amount of wine households consumed. Those using the smaller glasses drank 6.5 per cent less (253ml) per fortnight (left). However, the effect of drinking from a smaller bottle wasn't as strong, with participants just drinking just 3.6 per cent less (146ml) wine (red vs blue bars)

How much alcohol is too much?

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level, the NHS advises men and women not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week.

A unit of alcohol is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol, which is about:

half a pint of lower to normal-strength lager/beer/cider (ABV 3.6%)a single small shot measure (25ml) of spirits (25ml, ABV 40%)

A small glass (125ml, ABV 12%) of wine contains about 1.5 units of alcohol.

But the NHS warns the risk to your health is increased by drinking any amount of alcohol on a regular basis. 

Short-term risks include injury, violent behaviour and alcohol poisoning.

Long-term risks include heart and liver disease, strokes, as well as liver, bowel, moth and breast cancer.

People who drink as much as 14 units a week are advised to spread it evenly over three or more days, rather than binge drinking.

Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised not to drink to reduce risks for the baby.

Source: NHS

The team recruited 260 households — which consumed at least two bottles of wine per week.

During two 14-day periods, volunteers were asked to buy their usual amount of wine in either 75cl or 37.5cl bottles.

They were also randomised to drink out of either a smaller (290ml) or larger (350ml) glass. 

At the end of each two-week period, volunteers sent pictures of their wine bottles to the researchers to show how much they had drank.

The findings, published in the journal Addiction, show people drank less when asked to use a smaller glass.

Households using the smaller glasses drank 6.5 per cent less (253ml) per fortnight.

Similar effects were seen when drinking from a smaller bottle, however, the team said the results weren't as clear cut.

Dr Eleni Mantzari and colleagues said that people tend to pour themselves less wine when using smaller glasses.

Similar results have been seen with food, with psychologists urging people to eat from a smaller plate when looking to shed weight. 

They say it tricks people into thinking they have more food on their plate, resulting in them eating less.

The Cambridge team said people may drink less if they buy a smaller bottle because they tend to measure consumption in bottles drank, rather than volume. 

The researchers noted that wine glass size has 'increased dramatically' over the last three decades.

So if other studies confirm the findings, policies could be brought in to control wine glass size, such as making larger glasses more expensive.

And venues selling alcohol could be forced to use smaller glasses to 'shift social norms' on acceptable glass sizes. 

The researchers noted that they only measured the participants' wine consumption, so it is unclear whether they compensated for drinking less wine from small glasses by drinking more spirits or beer.

And the study took placed between November 2020 and August 2021, during which the UK spent months under lockdown. 

Dr Mantzari and her team said they don't know whether the findings would be the same during non-pandemic times. 

Britons are currently told to drink no more than 14 units per week, which is around six pints of beer or 10 small glasses of wine. 

However, people in the UK are thought to drink 18 units per week on average. 


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