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This Drinking Habit Can Help You Consume Less Wine, New Study Suggests

If you're interested in cutting back on wine consumption, try this research-supported trick.

There are various reasons to cut back on alcohol, including the fact that it can be quite harmful to your health. For instance, "alcohol carries seven calories per gram (more than protein and carbohydrates), which makes alcohol very calorically-dense, but nutrient-poor," Jean Hanks, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Well by Messer, tells Eat This, Not That!. That's not to mention the fact that regularly drinking alcohol "promotes fat storage, as the body prioritizes metabolizing alcohol in the body over food if the two are being consumed at the same time." On top of that, Hanks says that drinking alcohol can "interfere with a good night's sleep," while "excessive drinking is linked to liver damage and elevated blood pressure."

However, it might not always be easy to pass up a second glass of wine or another pint of beer even though that's what is best for your body. Fortunately, a new study has found that there's a simple habit that can help you reduce how much you're drinking on a regular basis.

What the study found

In the study, which was published in the journal Addiction, 260 households in the United Kingdom that each typically consumed two 750-milliliter bottles of wine every week (the equivalent of 10 five-ounce glasses of wine) were asked to adopt a new drinking habit for 14 days. While some were directed to continue to purchase 750-milliliter bottles of wine, others were to opt for bottles that were half the size. At the same time, some participants were instructed to drink out of 350-milliliter glasses while the others used smaller 290-milliliter glasses.

When researchers then took a look at how much wine participants had consumed during the two weeks, they found that those who purchased wine in smaller bottles drank one fewer glass of wine (146 milliliters) compared to when drinking from the larger bottle.

A more significant finding was that participants who used the smaller glasses drank 6.5% less wine, or the equivalent of 1.7 fewer glasses (253 milliliters), over 14 days.

pouring white wine

"While this particular study is small (260 households) and only focused on one population (people living in the UK), it suggests that changing the size of one's glassware could be a realistic strategy for people trying to cut back on their alcohol consumption," Hanks tells Eat This, Not That!.

This drinking habit may be more helpful than other habits when it comes to controlling alcohol intake.

Hanks notes that "recommendations for alcohol intake typically focus on the number of drinks (ie, men should stick to two to three drinks max per day) rather than the exact amount of alcohol consumed." However, Hanks points out that "generally, people at home aren't measuring five ounces, the serving size for wine, when they pour a glass."

Because people rarely measure a wine pour exactly to the recommended serving size, "if folks are focused on sticking to a certain limit for glasses of wine, and the glasses are smaller, it makes sense that they would then be consuming less wine overall."

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée