Is there really such a thing as a beer belly?

The majority of these extra calories of beer are consumed at times when people are not paying attention to their intake.

Some men love to wear T-shirts with the phrase “Beer built this body” around their bellies. The term “beer belly” is widely used around the world, including in the United States, France, Spain, Germany, and the United Kingdom. But what is “beer belly” exactly, and is the “beer belly” distinct from the “wine belly” anyway?

The present state of knowledge forces us to conclude that there is a thing as “beer belly.” Several large-scale studies have been conducted by scientists to determine whether beer and belly go together. The findings are not as obvious as one would hope, but one thing is clear: There is a link between beer intake and expanding waistlines. However, the effect is usually accompanied by an overall weight increase and is never localized to the belly alone.

Beer belly is more related to the way beer is consumed

The large amount of energy contained in beer is partially to blame for this. Remember that beer contains both alcohol and carbohydrates, so you always need to include both in your total calorie intake. The majority of these extra calories of beer are consumed at times when people aren’t paying close attention to their intake, such as in the evening after work, during meals, and while watching television. 

Because of the way beer is consumed, this adds up to a substantial amount of total calorie intake, much more so than with other alcoholic drinks like wine. According to the statistics from many beer-related studies, many people consume more than 0.3 gallons or 1 liter of beer every day. So, scientists have written a lot about how beer makes you gain weight, which suggests that this is a quantity problem.

The effect of gender on “beer belly”

The excess consumption of beer also affects men and women differently due to biological differences. It’s easy for women to gain weight since they have many places to store fat in their bodies. Men, on the other hand, tend to store the fat nearly entirely on their abdomen.

That’s why a man’s belly sticks out so much more than a woman’s. It is thought that this is a big reason why the beer belly stereotype is so common, even though people drink beer at different rates.

Alcoholic beverages cause fat to move around in the body

But beer drinking seems to encourage a change in fat distribution, from relatively harmless subcutaneous fat to health-threatening abdominal fat, which is deposited between the internal organs and the liver. Scientists aren’t sure why this is the case. There are likely other contributors to this result. One of them may make up the beer’s recipe. Hops, a key ingredient in beer, include hormone-like compounds that can affect fat metabolism.

However, your way of life seems to be more consequential for your beer belly. A poor diet and a lack of exercise are typically cited as reasons for heavy beer drinking and the resultant fat beer belly. Lack of exercise, in particular, has been linked to the accumulation of visceral fat around the abdomen region. However, sugary beverages have the same impact on weight gain as beer. The soft drink belly may soon join the beer belly, and not just in older men. This is because sugary soft drinks come in very large bottles that are easy to find. 

By Bertie Atkinson

Bertie Atkinson is a history writer at Malevus. He writes about diverse subjects in history, from ancient civilizations to world wars. In his free time, he enjoys reading, watching Netflix, and playing chess.