Beer drinkers rejoice--the beer belly is a myth!
"The beer belly is a complete myth. The main source of calories in any alcoholic beverage is alcohol. ...There's nothing magical about the alcohol in beer, it's just alcohol," says Charles Bamforth, a professor of food science and technology at the University of California Davis, as well as an Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of brewing science.
The myth might result from the notion that beer drinkers take in more calories, says Dr. Aliyah Sohani, who does alcohol research at Massachusetts General Hospital. A bottle of beer is typically 12 ounces while a glass of wine is typically 5 ounces.
"You are drinking it in more quantities than wine or liquor, so you tend to have more caloric intake. You are talking about a difference between several hundred calories a night and a couple hundred," Sohani says.
All alcohols contain the same caloric ingredients. There is nothing special about beer calories that causes them to head straight to the belly.
Bamforth suggests that the extra weight has more to do with lifestyle than beer: Many beer drinkers also enjoy the frequent sausage or burger. (Though that still doesn't tell us anything about beer bellies: Eat lots of sausage, and you'll gain weight all over, not just in the gut.)
So can we all chug beer with impunity? Afraid not. Excessive alcohol can give you Ascites. Due to the fluid accumulation, people with this condition tend to have a protuberant belly. This condition only manifests in extreme alcoholics. "You have this kind of potential space in your belly, and when fluid accumulates in there it causes Ascites. It's not fat, it's actually fluid. It can happen for a number of reasons, but one reason it tends to happen is from liver disease. Drinking alcohol in excessive amounts can cause liver disease," Sohani says.
This story was produced in partnership with Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. For more FYIs, go here.
I call shenanigans. When I drink more beer my belly gets bigger. And it's not from food because I eat less when I drink more. TMI ? :)
My ol' buddy is the same way. He goes through about a half-rack a day, and eats very little. He's got quite the pot-belly, spindly legs and scrawny arms. If that's not a "beer belly" I don't know what is. :))
Alcohol has calories in it, and those calories tend to be burned first because alcohol passes through the lining of your stomach. When burning alcohol, you are not buring calories from food, so it goes to fat.
More importantly, alcohol suppresses your metabolism. Therefore, you burn less calories when you drink it, and if you drink it all day long like many old farts and start at noon time, that's a lot of calories from alcohol and fat from what is otherwise your normal diet.
Alcohol also makes you lazy and stupid, which is exactly why we drink it, but slowing down and laying on the couch tends to add fat not burn calories.
I'd agree that beer does not directly lead to beer bellies, however it's not guilt free either. Similarly, saying your mind at family gatherings doesn't directly result in heated discussions, but it's predictable that if you call your Aunt Beatrice fat, there's going to be a row. (Oh, and cigarettes don't directly cause cancer either, an industry funded researcher told me so.)
Drinking in general does add calories to your body like eating food. Statistically, many drinkers tend to enjoy types of food commensurate to the type/quality of alcohol they drink. Such practices cause them to gain weight. However, people gain weight differently from person to person. Some have the fat deposited around the mid-section more than other parts of the body. Others may have fat deposited in the glutes and femoral region more than the mid-section. Still others may have evenly distributed deposits of fat around the entire body. It depends on the individual body chemistry correlated to the function of their brain (likely the thyroid). Still the net result is the same. Drinking a lot can cause weight gain. Eating a lot (especially with drinking) will most certainly cause notable weight gain. So don't get too happy fellow drinkers.
Your buddy just needs to do some push ups and squats for those scrawny appendages. I'm assuming his belly wasn't always big. Just an aspect of getting older. The reason it's harder to keep weight off as an adult is because your metabolic rate is not accelerated for a developing body. Your body is developed and your metabolism normalizes for function. Therefore, maintaining similar nutritional practices from your adolescence (assuming they are not mostly healthy) will lead to that weight gain between the mid 20s and 30s. Exceptions include people with abnormally high metabolisms following adolescence, but everyone's eventually slows down to a normal state. You just have to adjust to the change in your body chemistry. Have a cold one but abstain from half a pack a day and he might not be so heavy.
The yeast in beer and the grains helps to make estrogen which in the long run make for beer bellies and yes breast on men. The same is true for women who drink much beer, except because of the norm of having breast we do not see the change, obviously.
Oh the extra alcohol\sugar spike also helps our bodies to simply gain weight overall.
The beer belly is one of those very consistent observations that were made over the years by a lot of people and in a lot of cultures, that beer, which has carbohydrates in addition to alcohol and it is in liquid form, contributes considerably to central obesity.
Although this can't be considered air tight proof that it is true,it is relatively good evidence (as obesity research goes) and dismissing this out of hand without wealth of direct evidence as is done in this article by the "experts", is anti intellectual, anti-science and arrogant.
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This is the dumbest article I've seen on POPSCI...
Every person is different, but on average, if people consume beer in large quantities, and often, it is likely they will develop a "beer gut."
Beer bellies are not a myth...
Actually if you read the article closely it will tell you the same information that everyone already knows, which is what causes beer bellies to develop...
In the article:
A beer can has more ounces than a glass of wine...
soooo people tend to drink more beer...
which means higher calorie intake...
And often a combination of food...
See where this is going?
Any kind of alcohol can give you what is considered a "beer gut" (protruding belly). But it is certainly easier to obtain with beer, as this article unintentionally explains.
Some things the article blatantly disregards:
Beer has a lot of carbs (something of which people get PLENTY of already). Excess carbs get stored as fat, often in the midsection. This is not true for every person, and there is high variability in individual metabolism, yet on average the gut is where excess fat gets stored first.
Secondly, alcohol depresses signals in the hypothalamus that regulate satiety, which can increase the desire to eat (otherwise known as the Drunk Munchies). Combine regular eating with alcohol (excess calories), and excess carbs fom the beer (excess sugars and then fat production), and then a little bit of the drunk munchies, and what do you get? Significant caloric intake, likely exceeding the amount an individual's metabolism can burn in one day...so continuously drinking beer over time will most certainly give you a beer gut.
How is that a myth? It's science.
Also, the author of the article tries to justify the conclusion by implying the "myth" is the assumption that the alcohol in beer is somehow different than that in other sources. Who believes that? Alcohol is alcohol. I've never heard of any myth that the alcohol in beer is somehow magically different than that in other beverages, and that that is the reason a beer belly develops. Hogwash!
"Beer belly" sorry
Just how does one determine the percentage of an individual's belly fat resulting from beer consumption versus the fat produced from other caloric intakes? I've seen pot-bellied teetotalers, and I've seen lean, skinny drunks. The only consistent truth I've noted is that the hard drinkers tend to be far more honest about their alcohol consumption than the chubby non-drinkers are about their eating habits.