Beer Does NOT Lead To Beer Bellies

Beer Does NOT Lead To Beer Bellies

The Myth: It's every beer drinker's unavoidable fate: the beer gut.

The proof is all around us -- we all have at least one friend or family member who perennially looks like they're pregnant, regardless of their actual state of fertility or, for that matter, gender. And you, too, will get that nice round gut by middle age if you partake regularly.

The Reality:

The beer gut doesn't exist. Or rather, that massive mound you insist on calling your "one-pack" has nothing to do with actual beer consumption. Says who? Says science.

You see, some researchers got curious about this whole beer belly thing a while back, but presumably their stingy bosses wouldn't sign off on a never-ending supply of oat soda "for science." So they rounded up a 2,000-strong bunch of Czechs, a people who apparently wean their toddlers off of the bottle by offering them a nice stout. And what they found was at once surprising and freaking awesome: Beer appears to have absolutely nothing to do with the so-called beer gut.

In fact, research shows that the amount of beer you drink and the size of your belly have no correlation whatsoever. Hell, if you keep your beer intake under even a modicum of control, chances are it doesn't even do that much to your general weight gain.

Now obviously beer has calories, so a huge intake will contribute to weight gain (especially since you tend to take very little exercise when you're constantly bombed). But even then, it's nothing more than what, say, a strict bacon sandwich diet would do to you -- any excess calories can lead to weight gain. And that weight may or may not settle right on your belly, depending on whether you're genetically predisposed to it.

That's right: There's a beer belly gene. People get fat in different ways, and abdominal obesity is just one of the many interesting fat-storing shapes that the human body can sculpt itself into if said human body doesn't take care of itself. So if you have the gene, you'll wind up having a pot belly eventually, regardless of your actual alcohol consumption. Unless, that is, you maintain a strict diet and exercise regimen for your entire life, but who the hell does that?


But if that's the case, then where did this fictional correlation between big bellies and beer drinking come from? One possible culprit is cirrhosis, a liver disease of chronic alcoholics that involves the swelling of the abdomen into that familiar beach ball shape. We guess somebody decided that calling it a "beer gut" instead of "organ failure" was less of a buzzkill at family reunions.



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