We have all seen the notorious beer bellies. Whether on the beach or anywhere else, many men sport a protruding gut which makes them look pregnant. 🙂 This is actually something that can be even seen with skinny guys. Some skinny guys, while otherwise very thin, can also be seen sporting pot bellies, leading to the very sad condition of being skinny-fat. So how does drinking beer and alcohol in general affect weight gain and fat gain?
While very moderate drinking of beer (or some other small amount of alcohol) can actually be beneficial for you, an excessive amount of drinking can have devastating effects on your health and your obesity levels. An average beer is around 150 calories. These are largely empty calories and so provide very little nutritional benefit. This can quickly add up when you go for a boys night out and down 5 or 6 beers in a span of maybe two hours (and if the night continues, even more beers). Alcohol is associated with the storage of fat in the gut area. “In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat,” states Michael Jensen, MD, who is an endocrine expert and obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Other studies have confirmed this correlation between excessive beer drinking and obesity. This trend of storing fat in bellies gets more pronounced as the average male ages. When they are young, men and women tend to store fat in similar ways, however as men age, their fat storage patterns change and the fat tends to be deposited more in the belly area.
To give you a perspective of what drinking beers means for your workout, try doing cardio on one of those stationary machines in the gym. I was recently on one of those stationary skiing machines, where you hold the handle bars, and move your legs in a sliding motion, similar to what you would do if you were cross-country skiing. The machine had a counter which counted how many calories you burn while doing the exercise. After 15 minutes of doing the exercise, the counter showed 150 calories burnt. That’s one beer! So now, when I go on one of those machines, I count my time using “beer time”. So if you are on the machine for 30 minutes, in beer time, that’s 2 beers. So when you are drinking beer, think about this. Every beer you down equals 15 minutes on the stationary skiing/sliding machine. With the amount of alcohol that some people drink, not even 24 hours on one of those machines would be enough to counteract their daily drinking habits.
So remember, drinking a moderate amount of beer is not bad, and can even be healthy, however drinking too much will give you a belly. In my opinion it’s better to have a six-pack on your stomach, than to hold one in your hand! 🙂