When it comes to diet myths, none is as pervasive as the beer belly myth. Although often used solely to describe someone with a big, sagging belly, most people still believe that drinking beer is the culprit for the belly bulge.
Since so many of you have asked us, does beer make you fat, we’ve decided to do some digging and find the truth behind this conspiracy theory. Keep reading to see if beer can remain your favorite post-work beverage.
What Makes Us Fat?
Before you can understand if beer makes you fat, you must first understand how you get fat. Weight gain occurs when you consume more calories than you burn, which is why you often hear us at TFLA recommending a calorie deficit.
Whether its beer, chili cheese fries or chocolate cake, you will put on weight if you regularly take in more calories than you burn through bodily functions and physical activity. That’s true of beer and alcohol in general, but also of anything else with calories that you consume.
Calories in Beer
In addition to the calorie count listed on your favorite beer, you should also pay close attention to how much alcohol is in each can, bottle or glass. You see, 1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories, which means that most of your calories are coming from alcohol rather than carbohydrates or fat.
Let’s take a look at the calories in popular beer brands.
|BEER||CALORIES (per 12 fl. oz.)||ALCOHOL|
|Arrogant Bastard Ale||190||20g|
Why The “Beer Belly” Myth Persists
If you listen long enough you’ll hear lots of crazy reasons that beer allegedly makes you fat. Some of my favorites are that there is a substance in beer (unknown of course) that causes it to target the abdomen for weight gain. Of course this isn’t true, but that doesn’t stop people from believing it.
Some believe that the carbonation in beer makes us susceptible to the beer gut, but the truth is that the fizz only causes a temporary bulge in our bellies, similar to a protruding pouch shortly after a meal.
So, why does beer make you fat?
Beer Drinking Behavior
Drinking beer in moderation will not make you fat if you engage in regular physical activity, but when you consume several beers several times a week, real weight gain happens.
Since the science world has been unable to make a direct links between drinking beer and weight gain, why does beer make you fat? The true culprit in this is actually the culture that surrounds drinkin’ brews. Consider that many beers are consumed at parties or drinking establishments, where the food on offer is quite often greasy, fatty, sugary and obviously high in calories.
Combine too many beers with the temptation of foods that we know lead to weight gain and you’ve got a recipe for an expanding waistline.
Beer & Weight Gain
Although it isn’t necessarily the beer making you gain weight, it may not be helping either. The truth is that when you consume a beer or several beers in a fun-loving party atmosphere, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid succumbing to beer cravings.
Your behavior after consuming a few beers is more responsible for fat gain than the beer itself. Consuming beer can lead to weight gain in one significant way; alcohol takes top priority once it enters your body, getting processed before carbs, proteins and fat.
What does this mean, exactly?
It means that drinking beer—or any type of alcohol, really—slows down your body’s natural fat burning processes. This is why some weight gain can occur with excessive beer drinking. But as with all things weight-loss related…moderation is key!
Find out how you can get more from your fat burning workouts by reading our Fat Burning Furnace review.