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Shape and color of wine glass influences amount consumed

Whether you see the glass as half full or half empty, chances are, you will pour more wine into a glass that is wide or matches the wine color, resulting in unintentional overconsumption. This is according to a study published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse.

For the study, researchers from Iowa State and Cornell University had 73 students who drank at least one glass of wine a week participate in an experiment involving different pouring scenarios.

At each pouring station, the students were asked to pour themselves a "normal" serving of wine, which, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is 5 ounces and typically about 12% alcohol.

During the experiment, three types of wine glasses were used: standard, large or wide. In some scenarios, students were asked to pour wine into a glass they were holding, while in others, they were asked to pour wine into a glass that was placed on a table.

Additionally, to study the effects of varying colors, some wine glasses had a low contrast between the wine and the glass - for example, white wine in a clear glass - or high contrast - for example, red wine in a clear glass.

Several of these "environmental cues" resulted in overpouring.

When the glasses were wider, the students poured 11.9% more wine, and when they were holding the glasses, they poured 12.2% more wine, compared with when they poured into glasses placed on a table.

Laura Smarandescu, co-author of the study from Iowa State, says:

"People have trouble assessing volumes. They tend to focus more on the vertical than the horizontal measures. That's why people tend to drink less when they drink from a narrow glass, because they think they're drinking more."

Researchers say having a glass with high contrast, like a clear glass coupled with red wine, will help you pour a "normal" amount of alcohol, which is around 5 ounces of wine.

A further finding reveals when there was low contrast between the glass and the wine, the students poured 9.2% more, compared with when there was a high contrast. So drinking white wine in a colored glass and red wine in a clear glass may help avoid overconsumption.

'One person's two is different than another's'

After the experiment was finished, the researchers asked the students to rate how much each scenario affected the amount of wine they poured.

The students rated glass width, color contrast and holding the glass as the most influential factors leading to overpouring, which was in line with the results.

Douglas Walker, co-author and assistant professor at Iowa State, says:

"The fact they were able to know retrospectively, but they still poured different amounts, told us they didn't think about it when pouring, otherwise they would have adjusted. So they had to be prompted to think about how much they poured."

Walker adds:

"If you ask someone how much they drink and they report it in a number of servings, for a self-pour that's just not telling the whole story. One person's two is totally different than another person's two."

Knowing how much alcohol we consume can affect our health in a multitude of ways. blog reported on a study in early 2013 that revealed excessive alcohol use has lasting effects on the brain.

However, in moderation, wine has been proven to have its benefits. A recent study showed how a glass of wine a day could keep depression away.

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