Big wine glasses are being blamed
for millions of people consuming twice as much as they think
according to a National Drug Research Institute study conducted
Introduction of big wine glasses was always
meant to help swirl the wine and get the maximum bouquets
out of the wine, especially the reds. 6-glasses to a bottle
may be an implicit norm in many of the Indian restaurants
(when they charge on 5-glasses a bottle basis), but 5-glasses
(150 mL) is more of an international norm with 4-a bottle
(187mL) getting increasingly popular.
However, many restaurants abroad, including
Australia and UK have shifted to even 250mL a serving- obviously
charging prices on the size basis but consumers counting
in terms of glass being a standard drink.
Prof Steve Allsop, who was involved in
the study, says heavy drinking was creating a generation
of women who were at greater risk of weight gain, cancer
and brain and liver damage.
In the National Drug Research Institute
study, researcher Celia Wilkinson asked women participants
how many standard drinks they consumed in a week. They were
then asked to pour their "normal" drink.
"We measured it and found people are
clearly making an error, anything from underestimating it
from 10 per cent up to 50 and even 100 per cent," Prof
It meant a woman who believed she had consumed
three glasses of wine had had as many as six.
Groups of women gave conflicting answers
to the amount of wine in a standard glass. Their estimates
ranged from 375ml in a glass of wine to 150ml.
Professor Allsop said research had also
shown that women's increased independence, both financially
and socially, had led to females becoming heavy drinkers.
Women in higher-paid jobs, particularly those in managerial
positions, were especially vulnerable, research had found.
The Federal Government would introduce
new standard drink logos - showing the number of standard
drinks in a product, a Department of Health spokeswoman
Research shows 70 per cent of men and 60
per cent of women have no clue about the volume of alcohol
required to put them at risk of suffering brain damage.
A survey last year found one in five women believed they
could consume four standard drinks a day over 8 -10 years
without incurring brain damage, when in fact drinking at
that level puts them at significant risk.
One aspect of over consumption that
the study seems to have had a fleeting glance at, is the
absolute level of consumption. It is not only the size of
the drink but amount of alcohol which is equally important
to consider. For instance, a German Riesling may have 8%
alcohol by volume whereas Chablis may have 12.5%. It is
not uncommon to find alcohol levels of 14-15.5% and even
more; touching 16% in some Australian reds. The producers
even have the freedom to under-declare alcohol level by
.5-1% in some countries. Obviously, a standard glass of
150 mL (a standard recommended by delWine) of this German
Riesling will have HALF the alcohol than the Australian
Shiraz having 15.5% or more.
We strongly urge our readers to read
the labels carefully, watch the level of alcohol and consume
accordingly. If the wine producer insists on giving you
more alcohol due to the integrity, balance and structure
of his wine, by all means drink it-but drink less accordingly
to be in the safe limits of health and driving capabilities-editor