Larger wine glasses “lead to drinking more”
People throwing dinner parties should avoid serving wine from large glasses to prevent their guests drinking them out of house and home, new research suggests.
Experts have found that consuming wine from a larger glass leads to people drinking more.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University of Bristol examined drinking habits of revellers at a restaurant with a bar in Cambridge over a 16-week period.
Wine could be purchased by the glass and was served in different sized glasses. The size of the glasses were changed fortnightly intervals, alternating between the standard 300ml size, a larger 370ml glass and smaller 250 ml glasses.
The researchers found that the volume of wine purchased daily was 9.4% higher when sold in larger glasses compared to standard-sized glasses, according to the study which had been published in the journal BMC Public Health.
But the authors said the findings were inconclusive as to whether sales were different with smaller compared to standard-sized glasses.
"We found that increasing the size of wine glasses, even without increasing the amount of wine, leads people to drink more," said Dr Rachel Pechey from the Behaviour and Health Research Unit at Cambridge.
"It's not obvious why this should be the case, but one reason may be that larger glasses change our perceptions of the amount of wine, leading us to drink faster and order more.
"But it's interesting that we didn't see the opposite effect when we switched to smaller wine glasses."
Professor Theresa Marteau, director of the Unit, added: "This suggests that avoiding the use of larger wine glasses could reduce the amount that people drink.
"We need more research to confirm this effect, but if it is the case, then we will need to think how this might be implemented. For example, could it be an alcohol licensing requirements that all wine glasses have to be below a certain size?"
Commenting on the study, Amanda McLean, director of the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "This is an interesting study and reflects evidence that already exists around food portions, where bigger plates tend to lead to people eating more.
"Alcohol increases the risk of a number of different cancers including breast, stomach and liver. In fact, around 24,000 cancer cases could be prevented every year in the UK if no one drank alcohol.
"For cancer prevention, it is best not to drink alcohol at all but, if people are going to drink, they should try to be alcohol savvy. For example, pick a small glass of wine or a bottle of beer instead of a pint and drink water in between alcoholic drinks."