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Can’t Pace Yourself? Blame Your Glass!


Ever notice how that ice-cold beer seems to go down faster sometimes than others? While we you can always blame a rough day at work, or a particularly tasty brew for speedy sipping, glass shape actually influences how quickly we drink alcohol, according to Science Daily.

In a study conducted at Bristol’s School of Experimental Psychology, social drinkers with no history of alcoholism attended two sessions. First, participants drank either lager or soda from a straight-sided glass or a shapely “beer flute.” Subjects downed the beer almost twice as fast when served in a curved glass! Interestingly, glass shape had no impact on speed of consumption of the non-alcoholic beverage. 

Researchers speculate that drinkers often try to “pace” themselves when imbibing at the bar and use the glass to gauge how much they have consumed, something you don’t typically need to do with non-alcoholic beverages. Because the curved glass makes it more difficult to judge the halfway point, drinkers are less able to monitor how much they’ve consumed. To test this theory, participants were presented with a series of images of two glasses containing various volumes of liquid. The subjects were then asked whether the glass was more or less than half full. Subjects were less accurate in gauging the halfway point in curved glasses. And those that were least accurate drank the alcoholic beverages the fastest. Maybe your friend that can’t pace herself tends to see the glass as half full?

So what does all this mean? If you want to sip slowly, skip the pilsner and opt for a pint glass or mug when it comes to beer. For mixed drinks like margaritas and daiquiris, which often come in curvy containers, ask your bartender to use a straight-sided highball or rocks glass. And the classic trick of alternating one alcoholic beverage with one water is a great way to slow yourself down. 

As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.


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