Surely some people have gained extra pounds, and some have thoughts that maybe it’s all because of beer. We try to understand the problem of the “beer belly” in this article.
Do our cubes turn into “barrels” over the years because of beer? If you have a so-called “beer belly,” you are not alone. Many beer drinkers around the world have a tendency to grow a belly, especially as they get older, and especially if they are men.
But is beer really the cause of the “beer belly”? After all, not all beer drinkers have one, and those who don’t drink at all sometimes even have a very large one.
What causes a beer belly?
It’s not just the beer, but the large amount of calories that can turn your neat waistline into a sagging belly. Any type of calorie – whether it’s alcohol, sugary drinks, or overly large portions of food – leads to an increase in belly fat. However, alcohol seems to have a special connection to fat in the middle part of our body.
“The connection between a large belly and alcohol consumption can be loosely explained by the fact that when you drink, your liver burns alcohol instead of fat,” says Michael Jensen, M.D., an endocrine expert and obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
They also blame beer for its alcoholic calories, which are very easy to exceed. The average beer contains about 150 calories and if you consume several beers in one sitting, you can get a serious caloric overdose.
You also need to keep in mind the calories in the foods you’re snacking on with beer. Alcohol increases your appetite. Also, when you drink beer at a bar or party, the food you get is often very fatty, such as pizza, wings, and other fried foods.
Why Does Fat Accumulate My Belly?
When you consume more calories than you burn, the extra calories are stored as fat. And where your body stores this fat is determined in part by your age, gender, and hormones.
The process of fat storage is initially similar in boys and girls, but changes during adolescence. Women have more subcutaneous fat than men, so these extra fat calories tend to be deposited on the arms, thighs, buttocks, and stomach. Since men have less subcutaneous fat, it is in the abdomen that they accumulate more of it.
“Beer bellies” tend to be more prominent in older people because as we age, our caloric needs decrease, we often become less active, and it becomes easier to gain weight.
Because hormone levels decrease in men and women as they age, they are more likely to accumulate fat around the middle of the torso. Menopausal women who take supplemental hormones tend to be less likely to accumulate fat in the abdominal area than those who do not.
“Studies show that smokers can also accumulate more belly fat,” Jensen adds.
What’s wrong with a beer belly?
Not only does belly fat reduce your chances of winning a swimsuit contest, but it is also associated with a number of health problems, from type 2 diabetes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Carrying extra pounds around your waist or hips is less risky than carrying them on your stomach. Also, external subcutaneous fat, which is visible around the waist, on the hips, and buttocks, is not as dangerous as visceral fat, which is deep in the abdominal cavity around the organs themselves.
Visceral fat on the abdominal wall is often measured by waist circumference.
“When waist circumference exceeds 35 inches (approximately 90 centimeters) for women and 40 inches (or approximately 100 centimeters) for men, it can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and increased mortality in general,” Jensen says.
He warns that these figures are merely recommendations, but advises keeping a close eye on them.
How To Get Rid Of A Beer Belly?
There is no magic way to deal with belly fat other than the tried-and-true method of cutting calories and increasing physical activity.
“No acid-alkaline or other proverbial diet will help you lose ‘beer belly’ faster than a healthy, low-calorie diet,” Jensen states.
Since, after all, there is a connection between alcoholic calories and belly fat, drinking less will be a good start. It’s also worth avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, which increases the risk of liver damage and causes other serious health problems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weight loss program recommends limiting yourself to one glass of alcohol a day for women and two glasses for men.
Beer lovers are advised to choose light beer, which contains no more than 100 calories, as their daily norm. An alternative is to drink alcohol only at weekends or to alternate alcoholic drinks with low-calorie and non-alcoholic beverages.
Remember to eat right before or during alcohol intake to avoid overconsumption of calories.
Can lose a beer belly with exercise?
Doing squats, twists, or other abdominal exercises will strengthen your core abdominal muscles and help keep them toned, but it won’t remove the fat itself. The only way to get rid of belly fat (or any other kind of fat) is to lose weight.
The best fat-burning sports are aerobics, running, swimming, cycling and tennis.
“It is the combination of diet and sports that will help you get rid of excess weight more effectively,” Jensen believes.
The comforting news for us is that when we lose weight, we tend to start losing weight from the abdomen.
“Visceral fat is more metabolically active and can break down faster than other fats,” Jensen says, “so it usually goes first, especially when you have something to lose.