Understanding The Beer Belly The Risks Of Abdominal Fat

Many people believe that excessive consumption of alcohol, specifically beer, can lead to an accumulation of fat around the abdomen, or a “beer belly.” But there’s no fat in beer. So, why does a beer belly develop? Excess calories—whether from beer or fast food—contribute to weight gain and can cause fat to build up around your waist.

Learn more about the health risks associated with the beer belly and discover how to lose a beer belly once it develops.

What Is a Beer Belly?

People who gain excessive weight in their waist are often said to have a beer belly. Despite popular belief, however, drinking beer does not directly cause a beer gut. Excessive intake of any foods or beverages without equivalent exercise can result in a beer belly. The problem is that, even though there is no fat in beer, it contains easily consumed calories with little to no nutritional value. Other forms of alcohol are also generally high in calories and low in nutritive content. If these calories aren’t burned, the result can be an increase of fat deposits in the body.

Gender is another factor in the development of the beer belly, though the science behind this isn’t perfectly understood. Most women tend to gain weight in their thighs and hips, while men store fat primarily in the abdomen. This is due to a difference in sex hormones.

Age can also contribute the beer gut. Our metabolism slows as we grow older, and both men and women must adjust their caloric intake accordingly. If they don’t, obesity may result.

Risks of the Beer Belly

In addition to being unattractive, the beer belly poses a serious health threat. Excess abdominal fat accumulation has been linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes.

Fortunately, you can lose a beer belly—or at least halt its growth. Limit your consumption of high-calorie foods and increase your physical activity levels. In addition, cut back on foods or beverages that are high in calories and have little or no nutritional value. If you monitor how much you consume, control your portion sizes and get plenty of exercise, you’re less likely to develop a beer belly.

Resources

Ask Men. (2010.) Beer bellies. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://www.askmen.com/sports/foodcourt_200/226_eating_well.html#

Schutze, M. (2009.) Beer consumption and the ‘beer belly’: Scientific basis or common belief? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19550430

Mayo Clinic. (2010.) Belly fat in men: Why weight loss matters. Retrieved January 7, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/belly-fat/MC00054/NSECTIONGROUP=2