The infamous "beer belly" is something many men deal with, and often is not caused just by beer consumption. So what exactly causes it, and more importantly, how can you get rid of it? Let's take a look at what the experts and science behind this have to say.
What Causes a Beer Belly?
Contrary to popular belief, it's not just beer that causes a beer belly. Any form of excess calories can contribute to the development of a protruding belly. When you take in more calories from food and drink than you burn through exercise, your body is naturally going to store these calories as excess fat1.
For men, this fat tends to accumulate in the midsection first and is often the last fat to come off when dieting or exercising.
A beer belly is more noticeable in men, especially as they age. This is due to physiological changes in the body, including declining hormone levels, which lead to increased fat storage2. Another contributing factor is when the mid-abdominal muscles weaken and lose mass, causing intra-abdominal fat to accumulate and at a time when the abs can no longer hold it in3.
Beer is loaded with calories and can contribute to a beer belly, but it is often the accumulation of alcohol and other snacks like nachos, ice cream, wings, and other treats, that slowly increase your calorie intake overtime and lead to the growth of a beer belly4.
The Different Types of Belly Fat
There are two types of fat that contribute to a beer belly: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. A hard, protruding beer belly is caused by the buildup of visceral fat, while a soft belly is due to subcutaneous fat, which is located closer to the skin5.
Visceral fat is particularly harmful because it's stored around the organs in the abdomen, leading to serious health issues such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Subcutaneous fat, on the other hand, is less dangerous, but can also contribute to health problems if it accumulates excessively.
For all of those that will accuse us of fat shaming, of course you are beautiful if you have a beer belly, and we love you no matter how you look. Just know that no beer belly is healthy.
How to Get Rid of a Beer Belly
Getting rid of a beer belly isn't as simple as just cutting out beer. It involves a combination of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes. It may take some time, but if you follow a few no brainer steps, you can melt that thing off in no time.
Balanced Diet: In order to lose any body fat you need to reduce your calorie intake and get into a caloric deficit. This means eating fewer calories than you burn throughout the day. Simply creating a 100 calorie deficit everyday can lead to a pound of body fat loss per month. The easiest way to do this is to only eat whole foods (avoid processed) and focus on getting most of your calories from protein and fat, which are the most satiating6.
Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activities that not only burn calories, but also strengthen your abdominal muscles. This can include exercises like walking, running, swimming, or weight training7. If you are looking for exercise and workout ideas, search our blog. It's loaded with great information.
Lifestyle Changes: Limit your alcohol consumption, especially beer, and avoid late-night snacking are two of the easiest ways to cut calories. Stop buying snacks and cutoff your eating by 8 pm. Also, ensure you're getting enough sleep, as lack of sleep can disrupt your metabolism and lead to weight gain8.If you do want to drink, stick with seltzers and vodka sodas to keep the calories down.
Remember, everyone's body is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. As we mentioned before, belly fat is often the most stubborn and the last thing to fall off your body.
You may notice the fat come off your face, chest, and legs first, but don't worry. If you follow these positive habits long enough, your beer belly will be gone in no time.
Note: It's always best to consult with a health professional before starting any new diet or exercise regimen, especially when trying to lose weight.