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

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Beer belly is a popular colloquial term for the abdominal obesity. It is also known in various names like potbelly, beer gut and beer pot. Its origins are unknown, although it might have stemmed from the tendency of habitual drinkers develop a protruding belly over time, especially of old men. But does beer actually cause pot belly?

Despite the popular assumptions, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that beer in particular causes any kind of obesity, at least no more than the other alcoholic beverages we consume. Beer drinkers come in all sizes and shapes. There are many beer drinkers with athletic build. A beer belly is much likely to be noticed in people leading sedentary lives than those who do physical labors.

Beer is like its relative beverages. None of them contains fat. They are actually rich in calories but these calories come from alcohol, which is a carbohydrate. Different beverages contain varying amount of calories, and a drinkers calorie intake purely depends on the consumption and the amount of calories contained in the particular beverage.

The primary reason for beer belly is the large amount of caloric intake. Any type of calories can result in a fat midsection. And, alcohol in particular can trigger the formation of a pot belly since the liver burns alcohol before the fat. A normal beer contains about 150 calories. Many of us drink too much beer in one go, and that means a large caloric intake as well as reduction in burning of fat. Add to it the fact that alcohol increases appetite. We tend to eat more food when consuming alcohol as well. Any excess calories would be stored as fat in our body. It naturally leads to overweight and potbelly. It is more noticeable in men because they tend to store the fat in midsection while the women store the excess fat in arms, thighs, buttocks and bellies combined. It is more prominent in older people as well, since they have less caloric need and are less active making weight gaining easier.

So, the beer is not alone to blame that protruding belly of yours. There are a lot of factors playing a major part, like uncontrolled diet, alcohol consumption in general, hormone imbalance, lack of exercise and even stress. Balance is the keyword here. With a balance in diet and exercise, one need not worry about beer belly and its consequences.


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