The Truth About Beer and Your Belly What really causes that potbelly, and how can you get rid of it? Have years of too many beers morphed your six-pack abs into a keg? If you have a “beer belly,” you are not alone. It seems beer drinkers across the globe have a tendency to grow bellies, especially as they get older, and especially if they are men.
- But is it really beer that causes a “beer belly”? Not all beer drinkers have them – some teetotalers sport large ones.
- So what really causes men, and some women, to develop the infamous paunch? It’s not necessarily beer but too many calories that can turn your trim waistline into a belly that protrudes over your pants.
Any kind of calories – whether from alcohol, sugary beverages, or oversized portions of food – can increase belly fat. However, alcohol does seem to have a particular association with fat in the midsection. “In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the burns alcohol instead of fat,” says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
- Beer also gets the blame because alcohol calories are so easy to overdo.
- A typical beer has 150 calories – and if you down several in one sitting, you can end up with serious calorie overload.
- And don’t forget calories from the foods you wash down with those beers.
- Alcohol can increase your appetite.
- Further, when you’re drinking beer at a bar or party, the food on hand is often fattening fare like pizza, wings, and other fried foods.
When you take in more calories than you burn, the excess calories are stored as fat. Where your body stores that fat is determined in part by your age, sex, and hormones. Boys and girls start out with similar fat storage patterns, but puberty changes that.
- Women have more subcutaneous fat (the kind under the ) than men, so those extra fat calories tend to be deposited in their arms, thighs, and buttocks, as well as their bellies.
- Because men have less subcutaneous fat, they store more in their bellies.
- Beer bellies tend to be more prominent in older people because as you get older, your calorie needs go down, you often become less active, and gaining weight gets easier.
As hormone levels decline in men and women as they age, they’re more likely to store fat around the middle. Menopausal women who take tend to have less of a shift toward more belly fat than those who do not. Studies suggest that smokers may also deposit more fat in their bellies, Jensen says.
- Belly fat in the midsection does more than reduce your chances of winning the swimsuit competition.
- It’s linked to a variety of health problems, from to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
- Carrying extra pounds in your thighs or hips is less risky than carrying them in the abdominal region.
Further, subcutaneous fat that you can grab around your waist and on your thighs, hips, and buttocks is not as dangerous as the visceral fat that’s found deep within the abdominal cavity surrounding your organs. Visceral fat within the abdominal wall is frequently measured by waist circumference.
- When waist circumference exceeds 35 inches for women and 40 for men, it is associated with an increased risk of, metabolic syndrome, and overall mortality,” Jensen says.
- He cautions that these numbers are simply guidelines, and recommends keeping your waist size below these numbers.
- There is no magical way to tackle belly fat other than the tried-and-true method of cutting calories and getting more physical activity.
Monounsaturated fats and so-called “belly fat” diets won’t trim your belly faster than any healthy, low-calorie diet, Jensen says. Because of the link between alcohol calories and belly fat, drinking less alcohol is a good place to start. Avoid binge drinking, which puts you at risk for damage and other serious health problems.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’ s 2010 D ietary Guidelines recommend limiting alcohol to one serving per day for women and two for men.
- Beer lovers should opt for light beers with 100 calorie or less, and limit the number they drink per day.
- Another option is to drink alcohol only on weekends, and to alternate drinks with low-calorie, non-alcohol beverages.
Don’t forget to have a healthy meal before or with your drinks to help you resist the temptation of high-calorie bar food. Doing sit-ups, crunches, or other will strengthen your core muscles and help you hold in your belly fat, but won’t eliminate it.
The only way to lose belly fat (or any kind of fat) is to lose weight. Aerobic exercises like running,, cycling, and tennis are some of the best to help reduce body fat. But “any kind of will help you keep the weight off more effectively than diet alone,” Jensen says. The good news is that when you start losing weight, you tend to lose it in the midsection first.
“Visceral fat is more metabolically active and can be broken down quicker than other fat,” Jensen says, “so it is usually the first to go, especially when you have a lot to lose.” Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.
Is it possible to lose weight and drink beer?
Yes, you can drink alcohol and lose weight. – But, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the green light to open a bottle of wine tonight or slam 8 espresso martinis after work this Friday! Moderation is important, and so is knowing how to choose drinks that will have the least impact on your weight loss goals,
Can you drink beer every night and lose weight?
Of course! Drinking does not automatically cause fat gain and a calorie deficit still matters when it comes to losing fat. In order to ensure that you are remaining in a calorie deficit, it’s going to be required to adjust your food intake based on how many calories you are drinking.
Is it fine to drink 1 beer a day?
Defining moderate – Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults generally means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. Examples of one drink include:
- Beer: 12 fluid ounces (355 milliliters)
- Wine: 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters)
- Distilled spirits (80 proof): 1.5 fluid ounces (44 milliliters)
Is there a healthy way to drink beer?
ENJOYING A NICE glass of red wine with dinner, sipping a tumbler of bourbon after a long day, trying a new craft beer, or mixing up your own cocktail, Everyone loves a good drink from time to time. Though drinking too much (and, we’ve all been there) isn’t good for you, it is possible to incorporate your favorite alcoholic beverage into a healthy lifestyle.
So, what is healthy drinking? “Moderation is key,” says Brittany Kunza, M.D., a medical director at virtual health platform PlushCare, “Alcohol really shouldn’t be considered ‘healthy,’ but it certainly can be part of social gatherings.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women.
But, two-thirds of adults say they drink more than that at least once a month. Drinking too much long-term can bring many health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and stomach problems. It can also weaken your immune system and increase your risk for certain cancers.
- Either inspired by these health risks or striving to cut back for other reasons, many people are partaking in Dry January or permanently embracing a ” sober curious ” lifestyle.
- And, non-alcoholic, booze-inspired drinks are becoming more popular.
- Many aspects of drinking can affect your health—how much you drink, how often, and your beverages of choice.
A healthy approach to drinking alcohol is part of a healthy approach to life. Often, that means choosing drinks that are lower in sugar and calories, such as skipping sugary mixers and using seltzer in place of tonic.
Why do men get beer bellies?
Does Beer Cause Beer Belly? – While alcohol can play a role in excess belly fat, other lifestyle choices contribute to additional body fat even more. In general, it is too many calories that cause the waistline to expand, not calories from a specific source such as beer.
Whether they come from alcohol, sugary drinks, fried foods, desserts or oversized portions, any type of calories have the potential to increase belly fat. Although alcohol is not the only culprit, there is good reasoning behind the association between beer and belly fat. Alcohol has earned its reputation as a contributor to stomach fat because when alcohol is consumed, the liver works to burn off the alcohol instead of fat.
While the liver is busy burning off the empty alcohol calories, fat can more easily accumulate in the midsection. It is also easy to overdo calories when drinking beer or another alcoholic beverage. When sipping on a beverage, it can be difficult to keep track of or limit calories because the beverages go down smoothly.
- Especially for those who can drink a considerable number of beers in one sitting, the calories from alcohol can add up quickly.
- Of course, drinking beer usually includes eating some unhealthy foods with it.
- Most often, alcohol is consumed at a bar or a party, both of which tend to serve foods like pizza, wings, burgers, onion rings or other fried foods.
Additionally, alcohol can increase your appetite, causing you to consume more unnecessary calories. Age also has a large impact on stomach size. As people get older, their beer bellies typically become more prominent because they are less active and have decreased calorie needs.
- This lack of exercise and core strengthening mixed with a high caloric diet makes gaining weight easier.
- Additionally, hormone levels decline in both men and women as they age, making them more likely to store excess fat in the stomach area.
- As men get older, their abdominal muscles start to weaken and lose mass, which causes their intestines and other organs to push outward.
Because men have a large omentum — the protective layer of fat wrapped around the intestines — they tend to gain weight more rapidly in their midsection than anywhere else. Weak abdominal muscles combined with extra mass within the abdomen pushing outward results in the rotund beer belly look for men.
Why do I lose weight drinking beer?
Drinking Alcohol Actually Makes You Lose Weight, Says Study Photo Credit: iStock By Tom Burns Drinking and weight loss have never really gone hand-in-hand. Maybe it’s because we’re so familiar with the concept of a “beer gut” or maybe it’s because that third vodka-cranberry makes us 70% more likely to make the Uber driver stop for Taco Bell our way home from the bar.
But, interestingly enough, there is evidence that suggests there are TWO big ways that drinking actually can help you lose weight — in one good way and in one bad way. Related: Let’s start with the good. A 2010 noted that women who were regular moderate drinkers, having one to two glasses of alcohol a day, were less likely to gain weight than people that didn’t drink at all.
The key is in the regular and moderate consumption of alcohol. (We can do that.) We’ve all heard how booze is filled with empty calories. Our bodies burn off the alcohol and then whatever is left over (sugar, hops, potato skins) is converted into fat. Hence, the notion of the beer gut and the creation of things like (That’s why alcohol isn’t normally associated with having a positive body image.) Related: However, the study argues that your metabolism reacts different to alcohol if you train it to handle moderate amounts.
- BUT if you have a regular, every-day, non-excessive alcohol intake, your body actually knows how to metabolize the alcohol properly and you also get the wider benefits of the increased metabolism.
- Lu Wang, the head researcher for the study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told, that the bodies of moderate, regular drinkers “use more energy, burning the calories in the drink — or even more than that — while digesting it.”
And that metabolism boost actually helps them lose weight easier than people who don’t drink at all. (Suck on that, Teetotalers!)
- So, if you train your body with a regular booze regimen, it can help you lose weight, which sounds like the best health program EVER.
- However, there is also a BAD way that alcohol can help you lose weight, if you’re less into moderation and more into self-destruction.
- If you’re an alcoholic, drinking excessively will cause you to drop pounds, but in the worst ways possible.
- Drinking large amounts of booze can trick your stomach into thinking its full — and while that sounds like the science behind a SlimFast shake — it can really mess up your body.
It triggers a huge increase in the amount of stomach acid you produce, which can cause dyspepsia, chronic vomiting, or an overall sour stomach or abdominal pain. Alcohol abuse can also cause or shut down completely — that can help you lose weight because it’s straight-up killing you. So, on the plus side, you might leave behind a great looking corpse.
- What have we learned?
- Your body likes it when you know how to handle your liquor.
- Be a consistent, responsible drinker — don’t feel guilty about that after-work scotch — and your body will actually thank you for it with more confidence and a maybe even a nice flat tummy.
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: Drinking Alcohol Actually Makes You Lose Weight, Says Study
Is beer belly fat hard?
You have a buildup of hard fat – The first cause brings us to the root of your hard stomach: a high accumulation of visceral fat. Located in the spaces between organs in your abdominal cavity, visceral fat is packed in tightly, so there’s no jiggle room.