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Is the “beer belly” really a beer belly?

Posted Oct 12 2012 2:16pm

There is no fat or cholesterol in beer, so is it the calories in beer, which cause the so-called “beer belly”, or is it rather how the organism metabolizes the alcohol?

For years, research has been done to establish whether it is the ingredients, the alcohol or the way they combine with the foods we eat, that causes people who overindulge with beer to get a rounder waistline.

Beer is rich with soluble fiber, and antioxidants, potassium and Vitamin B, which in moderation actually makes it healthy and good for the body. A study done in California has suggested that the reason is how the alcohol changes the way the body disposes of the fat. In fact, they claim that the alcohol simply stops or at least stops the burning of fat, most probably because it is eager to burn the alcohol first. The truth is, that the alcohol is not stored as fat, it is simply metabolized first, before the other body fuels. This means that the snack you have with your favorite beer will be metabolized slower. On the other hand, this same research showed that people, who had the same intake of calories from alcohol, burned more calories than those who abstained from drinking and ate food with the same amount of calories.

So, beer and alcohol do increase the human metabolism in a way that it will burn more protein. The question is – what you eat with your favorite beverage? A well balanced meal, such as salad and chicken with a beer will help you to stay fit and in shape. Experts actually claim, that when consumed with moderation, beer will have a positive effect on keeping the insulin levels in the body normal; it will help reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular problems too.

Of course, we are not referring to those cases, when people who engage in binge drinking or heavy drinking and substitute food intake entirely or almost entirely with the intake of alcohol. In these cases yes, you will not get fat, but you will need to face all sorts of other health and other issues.

Other researchers opposing the idea of mixing fitness and alcohol consumption, claim that drinking will cause the increase of abdominal fat, which is not only a cosmetic problem, but can cause serious health issues, such as increase the risk of heart problems, hypertension, elevation of insulin and glucose intolerance. These they claim can be caused mainly by the intake of hard alcohol, and even more how the alcohol affects the appetite and food intake.  This may change the popular concept of a “beer belly” into more of  an “alcohol belly”.

The question people who are worried about getting that “spare tire” have been asking themselves is: whether non-alcoholic beer is better than normal beer for the sakes of the body fitness? Well, actually they have the same calorie count of about 148 calories per 12 oz. A better choice may to choose a light beer, which has only 99 calories per 12 oz.

Of course if you are counting your calories, you will need to choose between taking nutrient or empty calories. It is your choice, but in case you choose to have an occasional beer with friends, enjoy it! Cheers!

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