Those distinctive Santa Claus pot bellies that make guys look a little bit like they’re pregnant, are not caused by beer alone. Scientists from NYU and UC say, it’s a myth, there’s nothing special or magical about beer that causes a special beer gut. Alcohol is alcohol and your body can’t tell the difference whether it’s beer, wine or hard alcohol.
The reason why some beer drinkers get a beer belly comes down to a few other factors. First, the serving size of a beer is 12 to 16 ounces. A glass of wine is 5 to 6 ounces and a shot is only 1 to 2 ounces.
So beer is often consumed in higher quantities than other types of alcohol and so you’re consuming more calories. There are also lifestyle factors at play like poor diet. You often see beer served alongside foods like sausages, hamburgers and pizza. A very poor diet with or without beer can alone cause the pot belly and you’re even more prone if you’re over 35 and or if you’re male.
After 35 years, metabolism slows down. You can’t eat as much as you used to. This sounds terrible and this is why some older folks put on weight. They don’t react to their slower metabolism.
You also don’t really see pop buildings in women and that’s because women tend to store fat in their hips, their thighs and their booties instead of their waist. But, if you’ve ever encountered an authentic belly; so big and round that you can rest a drink on it, you know there’s something a little different going on there.
It’s not squishy or jiggly. It’s kind of hard like you could pop it and you can’t just pinch the fat. There are two reasons for this. If they’re an extreme alcoholic, they could have ascites which is fluid retention usually caused by liver disease.
For most, beer bellies is because of visceral fat. This is a fat that lives not right under the skin like that squishy subcutaneous fat packed deeper in the body around the organs. It feels hard because it pushes against your abdominal muscles.
Visceral fat is higher risk health-wise because it can cause insulin resistance diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease. Subcutaneous fat is generally less worrisome and everyone needs at least a little to cushion their nerves, blood vessels, your skeleton and to regulate body temperature.
Take sumo wrestlers as an example. These guys look really fat. They eat a ton of food but they’re healthier than others who look just like them. The wrestlers don’t have insulin resistance, heart disease or diabetes and it’s because they have a lot of subcutaneous fat and very little of that beer belly visceral fat.
In 2007, German scientists at the University of Leipzig, successfully isolated three genes that process body fat. When they looked at an individual’s gene expression, they could correctly predict if they would store more visceral fat or subcutaneous fat. This is why someone’s weight is an imperfect measure of their overall health and it’s also why the last beer belly contributor is genetics.
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