What is the origin of the phrase “beer belly”? Does beer really cause pot belly?

Beer belly is a well-known colloquial term for abdominal obesity, which is a condition wherein there excessive fat in the skin in front of the stomach and abdomen. The condition is also known in various names like pot belly, beer gut, and beer pot. The origins of these colloquial terms are unknown, although it might have stemmed from the tendency of habitual drinkers to develop a protruding belly over time, and older men are especially the ones that have it. But does beer actually cause pot belly?

Despite the popular belief that beer is the only cause for these protruding bellies, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that beer causes any kind of obesity in people, at least no more than the other alcoholic drinks that we consume. Beer drinkers come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many beer drinkers that have an athletic build that makes them look fit and healthy. However, a beer belly is much likely to be noticed in people who are leading sedentary lives than those who do physical labor.

Beer is like its relative beverages, as none of them contains fat. The alcoholic beverage is actually rich in calories, but these calories come from the alcohol ingredient, which is a carbohydrate. Different beverages contain varying amounts of calories, and a drinker’s calorie intake usually depends on his or her calorie consumption in every amount contained in the particular beverage.

The primary reason for having beer belly is the excessive amount of caloric intake. Any type of calories can result in a fat midsection, and alcohol typically can trigger the formation of a pot belly, since the liver burns the alcohol before the fat. It is crucial to note that a normal beer contains about 150 calories.

Many of us drink too many bottles of beer in one go, and that means a large caloric intake and the reduction in the burning of fat by our liver. Add it to the fact that alcohol also increases appetite, which can lead to us drinking more beers and eating more fatty foods that are often consumed while drinking in a bar or in the house. Any excess calories that cannot be burned by our body easily would be stored as fat. Because of the negative aspects of drinking beer, it is naturally the leading cause of overweight issues and pot belly. According to studies, those with abdominal obesity caused by excessive drinking and eating are likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and even asthma because of the health problems that excess fat brings to their body. Obese people develop asthma because the fat can sometimes make their airways narrower or tighter, resulting in them being unable to breathe normally. In a study that was conducted in 2003, it was reported that 75% of people that are treated for asthma are obese or overweight. Researchers have also suggested that l obesity can cause Alzheimer’s disease to elderly men or women. All in all, having a beer belly can bring a lot of problems in one’s health.

Beer belly is more noticeable in men because their bodies tend to store the fat in the midsection while women’s bodies store the excess fat in the arms, thighs, buttocks, and bellies combined. However, both men and women suffer from the same diseases related to obesity despite the differences in fat formation. Abdominal obesity is more prominent in older people as well, as they have less caloric need, slower metabolism, and are less active in keeping their bodies fit, thus making weight gain easier for them. As previously mentioned, elderly people who are obese will not only suffer from physical problems but mental problems as well due to Alzheimer’s disease.

In conclusion, the beer is not the only one to blame for the protruding belly. There are a lot of factors playing a major part in abdominal obesity, such as an uncontrolled diet, excessive alcohol consumption in general, imbalance in hormones, lack of exercise, and even stress. With that said, it is right to say that the word “balance” is the keyword here. With a balance of exercise and proper diet, one need not worry about beer belly and the complications that it brings to the body.

Check out this IlluminatingFacts.com infographic on the amazing history of Beer!

Beer Timeline