Beer Belly FAQs – Causes & Solutions

Beer Belly

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Have you noticed that as you have got older your once proud six-pack has morphed into a beer belly?

Well, whether you call it a beer belly, or a keg, or your spare tire, it is certainly not an attractive sight and has many health risks attached to it.

So is it the beer that causes a “beer belly”? Is there another reason for this rotund belly? And more importantly, what can you do to lose your beer belly? Please read on to discover the truth.

What Causes a Beer Belly?

What Causes a Beer Belly?

With a typical beer containing anywhere between 180-500 calories, it is no surprise that those who indulge in the odd tipple will find themselves gaining weight, and more specifically a beer belly.

Research from 1980, that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that alcohol was a non-essential nutrient that contained “empty calories” [1].

Despite the vilification that alcohol then received by the press it has not affected peoples opinion of beer and continue to enjoy its taste and the effect that it has on your mood.

The question remains, however, is beer the main cause of the dreaded beer belly? Are there other things that could be to blame?

What About Your Genetics?

It's an unfortunate fact that some of you are lucky enough to eat or drink whatever you want without gaining an ounce of fat, while some of us will gain fat just from looking at a donut or beer [2].

While genetics has a part to play, you can’t let things like this stop you from achieving your goals.

Your Gender Has An Impact

Research has found that women will find it harder to lose fat than men [3].

However, the fat that a man gains will tend to accumulate around the waist (beer bellies), whereas women will tend to gain fat around the butt and thighs (muffin tops).

Fat is Harder to Burn As You Age

Another unfortunate fact is that as you get older not only is it easier to pack on the pounds, but it is also harder to burn off this fat too.

For men, as they get older their testosterone levels will fall.

Research [4] shows that typically a male will see their testosterone levels fall gradually once they reach the age of 30.

This can result in issues such as:

  • Lower sex drive
  • Erection problems
  • Lower sperm count
  • Hair loss
  • Lower bone density
  • Testicular atrophy
  • Less muscle mass
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • A lack of concentration
  • Less motivation
  • Depression

Women, on the other hand, will undergo the menopause, which is when a female’s oestrogen levels naturally decline.

This will usually occur between the ages of 45 and 55 and will cause the following symptoms to occur:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Reduced libido
  • Issues with memory and concentration

What both conditions have in common is that these changes in your hormones will make it harder to maintain a slim figure.

Sugar is the Main Problem

Beer is full of sugar and refined carbs that can affect your insulin resistance and how your body distributes fat inside your abdomen [5].

Calling your belly a “sugar belly” does not sound very alarming, however. But it is a real concern that has been linked to numerous health issues.

Dangers of Having a Beer Belly

Dangers of Having a Beer Belly

Not only is having a beer belly unattractive, but it has also been linked to a whole host of health problems:

Belly Fat is the Most Dangerous Type of Fat

Belly fat or visceral fat is considered the most dangerous type of fat, and this is because it surrounds your organs and causes an increased risk of disease. In particular a higher risk of developing heart disease [6].

This research found that when compared to being overweight or obese, those with more belly fat had a higher risk of heart disease.

Belly Fat Can Lead to Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that inhibits your body’s ability to both consume and store energy effectively.

Unfortunately, research [7] has found that excess belly fat can interfere with the signals that promote insulin production and therefore leading to an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Belly Fat Can Reduce Brain Power

Research has found that your beer belly can reduce brain power [8].

It has been shown that the protein that is needed by your brain for memory and learning is depleted when you have excess belly fat.

Some claim that belly fat can also increase the risk of both dementia and Alzheimers.

Belly Fat Leads to Erectile Dysfunction

It has been shown in studies [9] that belly fat can have a negative effect on sexual function.

Not only due to less blood being supplied to your penis, but also due to lower testosterone levels.

The lower testosterone levels are caused by the increased production of an enzyme called aromatase.

The production of this enzyme increases due to the amount of belly fat present.

Aromatase converts testosterone to oestrogen. This leads to other issues such as gynecomastia.

Belly Fat Leads to An Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Research [10] has found that belly fat can lead to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

This is because oestrogen is a growth signal for breast cells, which could potentially become cancerous.

How to Lose a Beer Belly?

How to Lose a Beer Belly?

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or workout that will help you to lose your beer belly overnight.

The best method is still to cut calories and increase physical activity.

Of course, one of the best ways to lose the beer belly. Is to stop drinking beer, or to at least try and limit your intake.

Not only is that extra belly fat unhealthy, but the increased alcohol intake can leave you with liver damage and other potential issues if you are not careful. Current research [11] shows that there is no healthy level of alcohol consumption.

If you would still like to indulge occasionally then I would recommend sticking to the light beers, and to limit your intake to the weekends.

I would also recommend having a healthy meal before you go out drinking, as this will help to eliminate any temptation to indulge in high-calorie bar food or late night kebabs.

Can Exercise Eliminate Your Beer Belly?

Despite promises from some of these “online experts”. Doing endless crunches or other ab exercises won’t eliminate your beer belly.

It will, however, strengthen your core and help you hold the gut in.

To burn off the fat exercise paired with a healthy diet is key.

Aerobic exercises like running and cycling are good options, but any form of exercise is better than none.

I would personally recommend trying to build some muscle, after all, it has been shown that more calories are burnt by those with muscle than without, even at rest.

For those short, on time you may want to consider a HITT workout. As this will enable you to burn off potentially hundreds of calories in a short space of time.

Final Thoughts

We have seen that belly fat has been linked to many different health issues, so it is important that you take steps to lose that beer belly.

Hopefully, by following our tips, by sticking to a healthy eating plan and getting regular exercise you can slowly start to drop a few extra pounds.

It won't be easy, and it won't be quick. But with time and dedication, you will soon start to see promising results. Please leave a comment below if you found our tips helpful, or if you need any further questions answered.

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Hi, my name is Jonathan, a fitness blogger and bodybuilding enthusiast and I am the founder of Skinny2Fit. I want to provide you with easy access to good advice that is both simple and to the point. Helping you gain muscle mass and strength!

2 COMMENTS

    • This all depends on your nutrition, and how hard you are willing to work to lose it.

      All I can say is that cannot expect to lose your beer belly overnight. So you have to stay committed to this goal if you wish to achieve it. 🙂

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