Calling time on curved glasses could curb binge drinking, say researchers

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Image: The key to sensible drinking? Use a straight glass

Photo: Michael Fajardo / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: mfajardo

Fancy a glass of red wine after a hard day’s work? Well how would you feel if your beloved, rounded glass of vino was actually making you drink faster? Because it might be …

Researchers have found that the speed at which we drink alcohol could be influenced by the shape of the glass we use, with straight glasses apparently making us drink more slowly.


David Troy, researcher from the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group at the University of Bristol, who conducted the research, said: “Excessive alcohol drinking is a major public health concern and there is a lot of interest in alcohol control strategies.

“We felt it was important to determine what environmental factors are contributing to excessive use and how they can be altered to nudge drinkers towards more responsible consumption.


“It seems it’s more difficult to tell how much you’re drinking from a curved glass.”


In the study, 160 participants (80 men and 80 women), who were social drinkers, were split randomly into two groups. The first group were given beer in a curved glass complete with volume markings while the second group were given the same glasses but with no markings.


The results showed that the group who drank from the marked glasses had slower drinking times, taking 10.3 minutes to consume 285ml of beer, while the non-marked group took 9.1 minutes.


A second study tested whether the effect of different shaped (straight and curved) glasses could be seen in a real-world environment. The groups were sent to three pubs over the period of two weekends, and the researchers found that pubs using straight-sided glasses reported lower takings, indicating less consumption.


Dr Angela Attwood, senior researcher on the study, said: “The speed at which beer is drunk can have a direct effect on the level of intoxication experienced. This can also increase how much is consumed in a single drinking session.

“Our research suggests that small changes such as glass shape and volume markings can help individuals to make more accurate judgements of the volume they are drinking and hopefully drinkers will use this information to drink at a slower pace.”


However, as only a limited number of pubs took part in the study, more research is needed. So, for now, maybe just try to stick to the recommended alcohol allowances to keep your health in check. Forgotten what they are? Here you go: 3-4 units per day (a pint and a half of beer) for men and 2-3 (a pint of beer) for women. You’re welcome.