Beer Belly: How does our body processes alcohol and why it creates fat on the belly?
Accumulated belly fat, well known as beer belly is something we notice at drinkers all around the world. The six pack turns into a beer belly as we grow older, and it is more intense among the men.
But is alcohol and especially beer the only reason that causes belly fat or there are more things to blame? In this article we are going to examine which are the main causes of fat accumulation in our waste area, what is the impact of alcohol in our body and how the famous beer belly could be dangerous for our health.
What causes a beer belly?
Shocking news, but beer is not the only suspect when it comes to fat accumulation around your waistline. Consuming an excess of calories especially coming from sugary drinks, fried foods, deserts, processed snacks, and alcohol could lead to an increase of belly fat.
Alcohol consumption is associated for a good reason with fat accumulation as the vast majority of alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and calories while they barely offer any nutrients our body could use.
Beer is equally caloric with other beverages like cocktails, but people tend to drink beer in daily bases with their meal or can drink several beers in one sitting. Many times, we don’t only drink beer, but we snack on fatty foods like pizzas, burgers, chicken wings and chips. If we consider that one beer has roughly 150 calories and a slice of peperoni pizza has about 260 calories, we end up with serious calorie overload if we have more than one.
Why do we accumulate fat in the belly?
All excess calories we consume are stored as fat but depending on the age, sex and hormones our body stores fat differently. Even though during our childhood we all store fat more or less with the same way the storage patterns change during puberty.
Women tend to store fat at their thighs, arms and buttocks when men store fat mostly in the belly. However, this changes again after women enter in menopause. At that stage many women observe fat accumulation at their bellies because of hormonal changes.
How does our body processes alcohol?
Alcohol is not processed the same way food does. Our body has to digest the food before the cells absorb it, but with alcohol it follows a totally different process.
When we have a drink the alcohol flows down our stomach into our bloodstream and on to our small intestine. From there, through a large vessel it goes into our liver where with the help of enzymes it is converted to energy.
Our liver can process about one or two ounces of alcohol in an hour and the rest flows on to our heart. When it enters the heart it reduces the pace that the heart muscles contract that’s why we feel our body more relaxed. When it reaches the brain, it slows down the transmission of impulses between the cells and affects our ability to think.
The possible risks of an innocent beer belly
Even though more people want to get rid of their beer belly because they don’t like the way they look or how their clothes fit, belly fat is linked to several serious health problems.
Accumulated fat in the waistline is considered to be on the most dangerous types of fat since it is built around your liver, pancreas, and intestines. Visceral fat is associated with high risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, the rise of BMI in many cases causes plaque build-up in the arteries and this weakness the hearts ability to receive blood and oxygen.
How to get rid of your beer belly?
There is no magic trick to eliminate belly fat. The only way to lose fat is to lose weight and the safest way to do that is by following a healthy balanced diet and adopting a more active lifestyle.
Getting rid of your beer belly is not only about looking good in a swimsuit, it helps you prevent a numerous dangerous chronic diseases and ultimately live a better and longer life.