The Beer Belly

12 Aug 2014

We have been blessed recently with some beautiful weather, and most evenings there’s been a smell of barbeques lighting up in the neighbour’s gardens. I love a good BBQ but these get togethers normally result in us over indulging with burgers and snacks, and they also have a tendency to make us up our alcohol intake. The average beer ranges between 120 and 180 calories, which means a casual summer afternoon sipping beer at a friend's back garden barbeque could pump around 900 calories into your gut, excluding the food you eat. The average active male should consume no more than 2,500 calories per day and ladies 2000 calories.

While drinking beer isn't the direct cause of fat stored around the waist, the calories consumed from alcohol can add up very quickly and lead to weight gain. Per gram, alcohol contains the second highest concentration of energy of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) at seven calories--just behind fat (nine calories per gram). Weight gain isn't necessarily due to the alcohol itself, but the high consumption of a high-calorie drink.


Unlike carbohydrates, protein and fat from whole foods, alcohol doesn't provide any feelings of being full. Therefore, a lot of calories are consumed in liquid form, but you don't get the feeling of being full as you would by getting those calories from food. To make things worse, alcohol increases your appetite and alters your decision making, which leads to eating takeaways and high calorie foods, instead of your usual roast chicken and vegetables.

 

You can see now how the calories really add up during a night out or a summer afternoon of over indulgence. Excess calories, wherever they come from, are stored as fat. Where that fat is stored, however, typically depends on genetics, age and hormones. In general, men seem to store extra fat around the belly, while women tend to store fat around the hips and thighs. This probably adds to the "beer belly" stereotype of men with a gut.

While a large belly isn't necessarily due to drinking beer, high consumption of alcohol often leads to weight gain and, therefore, the "beer belly" stereotype.

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