If you’re trying to cut back on the amount of wine you drink, the solution may be as simple as using a smaller glass.
A study was conducted by the University of Cambridge at a British restaurant/bar over a 16-week period. During that time, researchers tracked customers’ wine orders, while changing the size of the restaurant’s wine glasses every two weeks. Sizes alternated between a 10-ounce size (which is standard at most restaurants), 12-ounce size (a bit bigger) and 8-ounce size (a bit smaller).
The amount of wine served in each glass remained the same – about 5.9 ounces or 175 milliliters. Results showed that when the wine was sold in the larger 12-ounce size, the restaurant sold 9.4% more wine than when it was sold in the standard 10-ounce glasses. Unfortunately, findings related to the 8-ounce glass size were inconclusive, according to researchers.
However, the study’s lead researcher, Rachel Pechey, who works in the University of Cambridge’s Behavior and Health Research unit, said a conclusion could be made. By increasing the size of wine glasses, people drink more – even though the amount of wine in the glasses remained the same. While the reasoning behind this is certainly not obvious, it could be that larger glasses change peoples’ perceptions about the amount of wine in front of them – causing them to drink quickly, and then go for another glass.
Similar, separate studies suggest that other environmental factors can affect the amount of alcohol consumed. For someone pouring his or her own glass, a wider glass was linked with more wine being poured. If someone holds his or her own glass vs. pouring the wine into a glass on the table, he or she is more likely to pour a larger amount.
Theresa Marteau, who directs the research unit at the University, suggests that people can limit the amount of wine they are drinking by using smaller glasses. She said that more research is needed in order to substantiate this idea, however.
If further research validates the study, there could be interesting ways to implement changes in restaurants – such as making it a requirement for wine glasses to be within a certain size.
The study’s findings revealed similar results by the same group of researchers who analyzed the size of plates and utensils in regards to the amount of food people consume (the size of plate can indeed affect how much someone eats). Even the color of a plate can affect the taste of food, other studies suggest.