If you have a beer belly, then you are just one person among many other predominantly male beer drinkers that have developed the beer belly as they got older. However, some beer drinkers never get one. So what exactly causes some beer drinkers to get the famous beer belly? And what can someone do in order to get rid of a beer belly?
There are a few main causes of the beer belly. Most of these reasons are related either to how unhealthy beer is or to the unhealthy lifestyle associated with consistent beer and alcohol consumption:
Beer has a lot of calories in it:
- Any type of high caloric intake can cause an increase in your body fat. Beer happens to have a lot of calories; in fact, is has between 140 and 160 calories in a single can. Calories associated with alcohol also seem to have a particularly strong association with generating a lot of stomach fat – probably because of alcohol’s negative effects on the liver.
People tend to eat too much right before they drink:
- Many beer drinkers do not want to be drinking alcohol on an empty stomach. This means that beer drinking – and alcohol consumption in general – is also associated with a lot of eating. Additionally, the food that people tend to eat before drinking beer is usually not the healthiest groups of foods. They tend to be fatty and oily foods like pizza, which often can cause significant weight gain.
Studies show that beer can increase your appetite:
- Before drinking, you may have eaten too much fatty food, but while drinking, you likely continued to eat more snacks, especially salty snacks dipped in even saltier sauces. Salty foods and dips are associated with obesity. Unfortunately, beer and other alcohols can increase your appetite, so people drinking beer can very easily end up ingesting a lot of snacks and calories as they drink.
Beer also decreases the burning of fats:
- When you drink alcohol, your body focuses on trying to get your liver to metabolize all the alcohol in your bloodstream, which means burning fat will not be your body’s priority. Therefore, studies have shown that, over a long period of time, drinking a lot of beer every single day can lead to weight gain.
Men tend to store more fat in their stomachs:
- While women have the kind of fat that lies under the skin (subcutaneous), men have less of this type of fat. Instead, men have what is known as visceral fat. This means that men are unlikely to store extra fat in their arms, thighs, or buttocks. Instead, most of their fat deposits end up in their stomachs. Therefore, any type of weight gain among men – whether it is associated with beer consumption or not – can result in a bigger midsection.
Older people have a much easier time gaining weight:
- Beer bellies are more common in older people because the older you get, the less active you get and your metabolism also starts to slow down a little bit. This means you need fewer calories and gaining weight becomes very difficult to avoid. Your changing hormone levels also cause fat storage to be focused on the stomach.
Common cures of the beer belly will relate to developing healthier habits. Depending on how seriously you take these habits, they can also act to slow down development of a beer belly and as preventative measures against a beer belly entirely:
Limit your overall alcohol intake:
- Since alcohol helps to produce the beer belly, an easy way to reduce it is to limit how much alcohol you drink. Try only drinking alcohol on weekends or at special occasions. If you seriously want to lose weight, then you might want to consider giving up alcohol altogether because there is a strong link between obesity and alcohol consumption.
Drink lite beer:
- If you do not think you are ready to seriously consider giving up beer and alcohol, then beer with 100 calories or fewer will probably be the best beer option for you. You should still try to limit how often you drink, but lite beer is certainly healthier than your typical 154 calorie beer.
Eat protein with your alcohol instead of fats and salts:
- Since burning fat does not occur while consuming alcohol, any fat that you eat while drinking will be stored as body fat. So avoid eating fats while drinking. Protein can be a better source of nutrients because it can decrease your appetite, which can counteract the way that beer sometimes increases your appetite.
- In general, trying to find a way to eat healthier food will help you shed some of your body fat. Processed meat, sugary drinks, and refined grain have been specifically linked to stomach fat. Therefore, avoiding these foods will likely result in a smaller belly. Stick to unprocessed foods and try to cut back on your sugar intake.
Avoiding fried foods:
- Fried foods are fatty and higher in calories. They are also a common source of “empty” calories that you likely do not want to eat if you are trying to lose weight. Baking, broiling, steaming, or grilling your food instead can be much healthier.
Hit the gym:
- Of course, exercising is important for maintaining weight loss. Cardiac exercises, high-intensity workouts, or a combination of the two are both known to be very beneficial for losing belly fat. The good news is that, when you start losing weight, stomach fat is often the first to go.
Alcohol is not really the cause of the beer belly. Rather, a generally unhealthy diet can cause an increase in stomach fat.
Beer tends to be a big part of unhealthy diets and it is also associated with a lot of other unhealthy eating habits. By making healthier choices about what you eat, what you drink, and how often you exercise, you can either lose an existing beer belly, stop your beer belly from becoming more pronounced, or prevent yourself from developing one in the first place.