Can you drink beer and still lose weight?
Beer is a popular drink. It tastes good. There are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of different varieties to choose from. It’s refreshing. And, a lot of people like it because it gives them a nice ‘buzz’, provides them with a bit of liquid courage, and sometimes because it can even give them a ‘boost’ in their ability to socialize and be more outgoing.
But will drinking beer drastically undermine your weight-loss goals?
We’ve all heard of the infamous ‘beer belly,’ but how much of this is actually true?
Here’s what you need to know.
What exactly is a ‘beer belly?’
Contrary to popular belief, a beer belly is not necessarily always caused by drinking too much beer – though drinking too much beer can certainly cause a beer belly!
The truth is that too many calories, in any form, can turn a once-trim waistline into a belly. The calories could certainly come from alcohol, but they could also come from oversized portions of food.
Alcohol does, however, have a particularly significant role in fat-gain around the midsection, and here is why.
How does alcohol cause you to gain weight?
While the ‘beer belly’ is not necessarily always caused by beer (or alcohol), it is possibly that alcohol consumption is playing a bigger role in your metabolism than you realize. When we drink alcohol of any kind (be it beer, liquor, wine, etc.), our liver tends to burn that instead of the fat or the calories that we are also consuming in our food.
So, if you drink some beer and eat a burger with it, your liver will work on the beer first – ignoring the fat in the burger, which will tend to go right to your waistline… more so than it would if you hadn’t had the alcohol with it.
But there are also a lot of other factors involved in this. Beer itself tends to have quite a few calories. A typical beer may pack in as many as 150 calories – and when you drink two or three of them, the caloric value can start to add up.
Add to this the fact that foods consumed with beer tend to be a bit on the fattening side (think nachos, wings, burgers, fries, and other fried foods)… and it’s easy to see how it wouldn’t take long to pack in some serious calories!
As people get older, they’re also more likely to develop a beer belly. Smokers are also more likely to pack in more weight around the midsection than non-smokers.
Men are more likely to develop a beer belly than women
Males and females, when they are younger, tend to store fat in roughly the same fashion. But puberty changes this. Once puberty hits, women become more likely to store their fat spread out across their body – while men are more likely to store it in specific key areas – including the belly.
For this reason, men might be even more prone to developing a stomach that hangs out over the belt than their female counterparts. This is also why you might see more men with beer bellies than women.
What’s wrong with a beer belly?
Most people tend to dislike the aesthetic look of a more pronounced midsection… but having a beer belly can also put you at an increased risk for problems like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.
To help you lose some of those extra inches around the waist, you might want to limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking only on the weekends, avoiding binge drinking, and limiting the number of beers (or drinks) that you ingest when you do drink are all methods that you can use to curb the odds of growing a beer belly.
You can also stick to healthier foods when you do drink, and avoid ingesting foods that contain a lot of calories… as this will help to keep larger amounts of fat from going right to your midsection.