Well, guys, we admit that beer is a pretty awesome drink and you all love your beers. It is a great drink to have with your friends and also a great conversation starter. So if you are one of those folks who enjoy their beer, chances are that you’ve also heard of the term ‘beer belly’. It is quite a dreaded fear among the beer enthusiasts around the world and people generally tend to stick to a few beers for the fear of getting the ‘beer belly’ or a bloated belly. But is it really true? Does beer make you fat? What causes belly fat? We are going to discuss some amazing things in this article and may break a myth or two as well. So without further ado, let’s just dive right into it.
What is a beer made of?
Beer is one of the oldest and largest consumed alcoholic drinks in the world. It is made by the fermentation of cereal grains. The most common cereal base used in the making of most popular beers is barley (malted barley to be precise) though maize, wheat, and even rice are also used as a cereal base in the making of beer. The ‘brewing’ process of the beer starts with roasting and germination of the grain and then heated along with water in a kettle called as “mashed tun”. This process is called “Mashing”. During this process, the malts of the grain get broken down into simple sugars resulting in a sweet liquid called “Wort”. The “Wort” produces carbonation and ethanol (alcohol) in the beer. The fermentation of beer is done with the help of yeast.
The “Wort” is then piped into a large tank and “hops” are added to the brew. “Hops” are green, cone-like flowers which add bitterness and aroma to the beer and also act as a natural preservative and stabilizing agent. In some beers, fruits or herbs may be added instead to hops. The alcohol levels in the beer can range from 2% to a staggering 15%.
Nutrition Facts of beer
The nutrition facts may vary from beer to beer but a 330 ml serving of a regular beer contains the following –
- Total Calories: 150 grams
- Carbohydrates: 13 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fats: 0 grams
- Alcohol: 14 grams
In addition to these calories, beer also contains certain micronutrients like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Another point to note is that alcohol contains around 7 grams of calories. If you need more information about the calorie information of macronutrients, kindly read this article –”THE IMPORTANCE OF THE THREE MACRONUTRIENTS“, where we have explained extensively the nutrition information and each macronutrient and its significance as well.
Also note that, more the alcohol content of the beer, more the calories it contains.
What is a beer belly?
Beer Belly is often associated with drinking large quantities of beer. It generally means that you have a bloated belly or have accumulated a large amount of body fat, especially around the belly region.
Does Beer really make you fat?
Well, this statement is true to a certain extent. As you already know that the total calories of a beer pint are around 150. But we never really stop at one, do we? Chatting with friends, we guzzle around a gallon of beer along with crisps, fries and other so-called “snacks” taking the total intake of calories in the four figures. It has been observed that an average human takes in a minimum of 2000 calories during a drinking night out with friends. Beer & alcohol also have a tendency to increase your appetite; therefore, you tend to eat more after drinking. It also numbs your senses, so you have a lesser idea of “when to stop eating or drinking” as well. Therefore beer does add more calories to your diet and we all know that more calories mean more fat all over the body & not just belly. But to blame beer solely for fat accumulation would not be correct, the same is true for carbonated and sweetened drinks and junk food too.
Beer also makes your liver go into a hyperdrive so that it can detoxify all the alcohol from the body. Therefore, the breakdown of alcohol takes precedence over all other activities of the body which leads to weight gain. Thus, beer prevents your body from burning fat. This is the prime reason that many fitness gurus and coaches recommend dropping alcohol altogether from the diet during any fitness regime; especially weight loss programs. Most of the weight loss programs strictly prohibit beer and other alcoholic drinks.
Beer can affect men more than it affects women as the “hops” contain a compound called “Phytoestrogens” which contain a hormone called “estrogen” which is primarily a female hormone. This hormone is associated with chest fat (also known as “man boobs”) and also associated with weight gain and belly fat. It can also cause hormonal changes in men, although, this theory is highly debatable among the researchers. Men are also more likely to drink beer and drink it in larger quantities than women (who generally do not prefer beer as their preferred alcoholic beverage). Men also have an android weight distribution, which means that they tend to store fat around their belly, thus, the name “beer belly”.
Does beer have the most calories among all other spirits?
Well, this claim is debatable, but beer does contain most calories among other popular spirits like wine, scotch, vodka, and gin. In fact, some studies have even attributed weight loss properties to red wine, if drunk in moderation. All other spirits have fewer calories compared with a standard drink of beer. Although most of the studies do agree on one thing – if you drink more alcohol, you are more likely to be fat.
Beer belly health hazards
A “beer belly” generally is not considered to be a good thing. People tend to make fun of people having a beer belly, thereby, lowering the self-esteem of the person involved. It not just affects the social aspect of a person but also affects the physical condition of a person. More fat around the belly can lead to numerous health hazards like diabetes and heart diseases. Excess alcohol, which leads to a beer belly, also seriously damages the liver and the pancreas and this damage may even be irreversible in some cases. More fat can also reduce testosterone in men which in turn affects their sexual life and energy levels.
How to lose ‘beer belly’
Unfortunately, you cannot lose the beer belly overnight, just as you didn’t create the beer belly in one night. And you cannot lose just the belly fat by doing 500 crunches in a day as there is no such thing as “spot reduction”. You will have to work on your whole body and chances are that the belly fat will go away last but it will certainly go away if you’re focused and determined. You’ll need to follow a proper regime of exercise and diet in order to get rid of excess body fat and lead a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few tips in order to lose the excess body fat
- Start a physical exercise routine on a daily basis. You can join a gym or play an outdoor sport of your choosing. You can also do aerobics or dance or anything physical that you enjoy so that you do not get bored with your physical routine.
- Control your diet. You need to manage the food portions that you eat. Eat smaller meals more frequently rather than eating tonnes of food at one go. Also, try to avoid highly processed foods.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks especially soft drinks and other carbonated drinks.
- Restrict your alcohol intake. No more binge drinking allowed. If possible, remove alcohol altogether from your routine or limit alcohol to not more than 2-3 drinks per week. We recommend complimenting your fitness goal achievement with a drink or two. It will provide you motivation to keep working hard.
- Adopt a healthier and active lifestyle. Stop being a couch potato.
- Hydrate properly especially if you have had a few drinks. Water is a wonderful drink and can do wonders for your body.
Beer belly exercises
As we already explained above that you cannot do spot reduction, which means that you cannot lose just the belly fat without undergoing fat loss at the whole body. But here we can suggest some exercises which will enable you to burn that fat faster.
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio
- Strength training combined with HIIT cardio
- Box Squat Jumps
- Bear Crawls
Most of you would know most of these exercises and there is already huge information available regarding these exercises and how to do them. If you notice, we haven’t mentioned a single abs/belly exercise on our list of recommended exercises. That is because we know that you can’t do spot reduction of the belly fat. Therefore, we have mentioned the exercises we believe can make your body fat melt faster, thereby, helping reduce belly fat too.
Drinking beer does cause “beer belly” but so can other sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks. Beer drinkers tend to be binge drinkers too and most of them cannot stop at just one or two beers. We believe that moderation is the key when it comes to drinking beer or any other alcoholic drink. If you limit your daily beer limit to 2-3 beers with a few light snacks, lead an active lifestyle & monitor your diet, you’ll never grow a beer belly. Be a responsible citizen and drink responsibly. As always, stay healthy!!