Key to drinking less alcohol — is using a smaller glass, scientists conclude

LONDON — Scientists in the United Kingdom say the trick to cutting back on your alcohol consumption may be as simple as using a smaller glass. Their new study found that people who regularly drink wine at home consumed less each week when they switched to smaller glasses and bought smaller bottles.

Specifically, British households drank 6.5 percent less wine each week when the participants switched out their usual wine glasses for smaller ones provided by the researchers. Opting to buy half-size bottles of wine (375ml) instead of the standard size you typically find in liquor stores (750ml) also cut down on people’s drinking by 3.6 percent.

Study authors recruited 260 U.K. households to participate in this experiment, each of whom consumed at least two standard size bottles of wine each week. Over 14 days, researchers had the participants buy a set amount of wine and then provided them with either smaller (290ml) glasses or larger (350ml) glasses to drink out of.

The team measured each home’s drinking through photos of the purchased wine and by weighing the contents on standardized scales.

Researchers note that wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Europe. However, the public drinks most of it at home — rather than in bars, pubs, or restaurants. Previous studies have found that using larger glasses increases how much wine businesses sell. Moreover, the average beverage glass has also increased in size dramatically over the last few decades.

MORE: It’s not just you: You’re drinking more because wine glasses are growing, study finds

Study authors believe their findings could lead to a “market correction” which helps people to drink less and resets what society considers to be an “acceptable glass size” for alcohol.

The findings are published in the journal Addiction.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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