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Does Size and Shape Really Matter?

Wansink Mindless Eating Glass Size & ShapeWhen it comes to glassware, yes!

Have you heard of the book Mindless Eating by researcher Brian Wansink Ph.D.? It contains some great weight loss tips about how to set up your environment to fool your “mind’s eye” into thinking you’re eating more (or less) than you really are. It’s easier than you think.

One of Dr. Wansink’s experiments challenged veteran bartenders to estimate the amount of alcohol they poured into different shapes of glasses. Turns out that when they poured what they thought was an ounce of alcohol into a short wide glass versus a tall narrow glass, they always underestimated the amount. In other words they were unconsciously likely to serve you more volume in a shorter wider glass – but the eye perceives it as less.

Time for an experiment!

So I decided to try this with my own glasses. Instead of estimating, I measured an equal amount of cranberry juice into several different size and shape glasses to see if the size or shape of the glass made a difference in the perceived serving size.  Sure enough it did as you can see in the video below.

One thing I found interesting was that when I poured the juice into a glass that was tall as well as wide, it appeared to be an even smaller amount because the glass looked half empty. Short or tall, if you use wide glassware you’ll tend to consume a lot more – and you probably won’t even be aware of it. So stay away from them.

It seems with stemware the illusion changes a bit.  I’m not sure why. In the video, the martini glass  appears to hold a smaller amount than the other glasses. That’s because you’re seeing it from the side. However, the more normal view (from above) gives the impression of a larger volume than the champagne flute, probably because of the wide surface area the eye sees.


If you serve drinks in tall narrow glasses, you’ll consume less because your eye – and therefore your mind (and stomach) – will believe you’re drinking more than if you use a wide glass. The same is true if you’re serving ice cream or a parfait dessert.

DO try this at home!

I encourage you to test this at home with your own glassware and discover what works best for you.  If you want to “mindlessly” reduce the amount you eat or drink, it matters what kind of glass you choose. When you trick your mind into believing you are consuming more when you’re actually consuming less, it makes for easy, effortless weight loss.

And just in case you’re wondering if the amounts are all the same, be sure to watch the end of the video!

If you can’t see the video click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfU-wfDXZRc

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