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Alcohol Abuse

Controlling Your Drinking with Glassware? Some Types of Glasses Increase Drinking Rate, Other Types Slow You Down

posted 11:21 PM EST, Thu September 06, 2012

People trying to reduce their alcohol consumption may want to pay attention to their glassware. Researchers at the University of Bristol say that people drinking alcohol out of curved glasses drink about twice as fast as people drinking alcohol out of straight-sided glassware.

Slowing your drinking rate decreases the amount you’ll likely consume in a single session, reduces the odds of drunkenness and reduces the chances of alcohol abuse problems.

It’s all good stuff, but for a lot of us, it’s easier said than done!

Fortunately, researchers in the UK may have stumbled upon a solution – drink out of the right types of glass and you’ll naturally drink much slower.

The Experiment

To see what influence glassware might exert over rate of consumption, the researchers had 160 social drinkers between the ages of 18 and 40 come in for 2 sessions to drink alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks in different types of glassware.  

  • In one session the subjects drank our of straight sided glasses
  • In the next session, they drank out of curved sided glassware

The Results

  • People consume alcoholic drinks out of curved-sided glassware almost twice as quickly as they do out of straight-sided glasses
  • When shown pictures of straight-sided and curved-sided glasses holding varying quantities of liquid, the subjects were far less able to accurately determine when curved-sided  glasses were half-full, although they had little difficulty on this task with straight-sided glasses.


The researchers suggest that people’s inability to accurately gauge how much they’re drinking when using curved-sided glasses may account for the increase in drinking rate seen with this type of glassware.

Commenting on the take-home message of the results, lead study author Dr Angela Attwood said, “People often talk of 'pacing themselves' when drinking alcohol as a means of controlling levels of drunkenness, and I think the important point to take from our research is that the ability to pace effectively may be compromised when drinking from certain types of glasses."

The full study findings are published in the journal, PLoS One

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Story Highlights
  • Glass Shape Influences Drinking Rate: Researchers say that when people use curved-sided glasses they drink almost twice as fast
  • Gauging Consumption: Researchers say people are less able to gauge how much they're drinking with curved-sided glasses.
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