The myth of the "beer gut"

I’m sure that a subject of such great importance has been covered here before, but a search didn’t turn anything up.
So what’s the truth. Friends of mine (male) insist that their often prodigious pot bellies are a direct result of drinking beer. All those triple bacon cheeseburgers, Cocoa Puffs, chips, and sundays squatting in front of the tube have nothing to do with it. All that goes to muscle, or penis size, one would assume. :wink:
I know most of these guys. Their diets consist of two or three beers a night plus a lot of meat, butter, and sweets, all day long.
So what’s more likely to contribute to your fatness - two beers or half a quiche?
mangeorge (White bread and macaroni)

In my experience beer has had a direct impact on the size of my waist. I used to work out regularly but after I finished University I took the summer off from the gym. I porked up right away as a result of lack of excercise and acquired my nickname Gut.After getting back in shape and staying that way for years I again took an extended break from working out and again porked up.

I then ran into someone I had not seen in about 6 months and he was very thin compared to the last time I saw him. He explained he had quit drinking and the weight just disappeared over the course of a couple of months. Being lazy at this point I figured I would give it a shot as I still didn’t want to go back to the gym. To my delight and surprise I lost 20 pounds over a 3 month period without hitting the gym.

5 years later I still don’t drink but started gaining weight again about 8 months ago because I’m eating too much and replaced beer calories with food calories.

So basically I think beer is just a rich source of calories that will definately add to the abdomen. Eating too much,drinking beer on a regular basis,and not excercising will increase the rate of abdominal expansion.

Although I know a couple of guys that can eat and drink as much as they want and are still as skinny as a stick. They can’t put on weight even if they try.

mangeorge, I edited the thread title because everything after the quotation marks disappeared.

Let me know if I guessed wrong.

I’ve seen it mentioned in several places that alcohol tends to deposit fat around the waist, where it can do most harm. I’ll see if I can find some research to back this up.

Hmmm. I kinda suspect it is not a case of the junk food OR the beer; rather a case the junk food BECAUSE OF the beer.

C’mon, you try drinking a sixpack and then eating low fat cottage cheese thinly spread on dry crackers! No way. Pizza it is.

The bums on skid row tend to consume a lot of alcohol, but little other food - they never seem to be fat.

My money’s on the quiche, but I think the beer itself doesn’t help.

Beer does contain about 5 to 20 grams of carbohydrates per 12 oz. beer depending on what brand you’re drinking. Ingesting lots of simple carbohydrates can cause fat to be stored more readily according to quite a few of the current diet gurus. If your friends are regularly pounding bacon cheeseburgers and then ingesting lots of simple carbs on top of it, both the food and the beer are contributing to their beer guts.

You can take a look at the carb and calorie content of various domestic beers here. The list doesn’t cover darker beers, which tend to have more carbs.

Here’s one:

Beer is not necessary for a “beer gut”. During my first year of college, I put on a 20 or 25 pound potbelly, without a single ounce of alcohol in any form. My guess is that my metabolism changed at the beginning of the year, but my appetite didn’t change until the end.

Beer can, of course, be a contributing factor, though. I’ve heard that the problem isn’t so much the calories of the beer itself, but that alcohol tends to slow the metabolism so you won’t burn off as many other calories as you otherwise would. IANAP[sub]hysiologist[/sub]

Neither. It’s all in the genes.

Fat has about 9 Cal/g, alcohol about 7 Cal/g and protein and carbs about 4 Cal/g. It’s as simple as that. And since “mangeorge” IIRC translates as “eat barley”, you are wise to be concerned about your “friend”.

Well no, Dr_Paprika. Not exactly barley. :slight_smile:
I’m certainly no stranger to cheeseburgers. Or quiche. I just don’t do the beer thing. I’m proof positive that you can have a “beer gut” without the beer.
I suspect that it’s more machismically acceptable to have a beer gut than a simple potbelly from eating too much of the kids’ Captain Crunch. Some of these guys don’t really drink that much beer, if any at all.
If I say “That ain’t no beer gut, that’s mashed potato and gravy” they seem offended. :smiley:
Us old farts can get away with stuff like that. Usually.
Let me modify my question to;
Why are us men so silly?

Another possible reason is the sedentary period following beer consumption. Eating a big greasy plate of Nachos might be followed by at least walking home, and getting some energy use. But if that big greasy plate of nachos is accompanied by several beers it is likely to be followed by a period of sitting on your ass(and probably drinking more beer). So even if the source of the calories isn’t important, the life style associated with a beer drinker vs a non drinker probably contributes to a gut.

I live on beer, and one-point-five-on-average meals a day, paying a certain amount of attention to what I really feel like eating. Strangely, my tastes are largely vegetarian during the week. I eat real food–steak, whenever possible–on weekends. I’m resting my beer on a particularly horizontal part of myself that must in all decency be called a beer gut. And I’m jolly.

If one has good tools, one needs to build a good shed over them.

I used to think that beer and whole milk had about the same amount of calories. As it turns out from this link:
and the calories in beer link, 12 ounces of beer has about as many calories as a cup (8 ounces) of whole milk. So beer isn’t quite as heavy as I thought, but it still has a lot of calories. I mean, if someone who just packed away three cans said “I just drank three glasses of whole milk” (or half a cup of half-and-half), we’d be pretty shocked.

I always try to smoke while I drink, that way the smoking quells my appetite, I eat less and can use more of my daily calorie intake for beer. (yeah, like I count calories!)

I don’t drink, I don’t eat, I’m 31 and I don’t have a beer gut.

My flatmate drinks like a fish, and he eats like a horse, but he exercises regularly and runs. He is 41 (today) and he does not have a beer gut.

My other flatmate drinks a little bit, he eats averagely, he’s 45, and he does have a beer gut of minor proportions.


Hey something Eddie has first hand experience with. Though YGMY (your gut may vary).

I was always skinny though about the first couple of years of college, I’m 6’2" and was 180 or so. Then I started drinking though not much. After college I used to drink a beer or two a night with dinner. I didn’t change what I ate much.

Jump to now. I got up to around 220 and was not liking it. I figured I needed to do something about it so I cut my drinking back to only a couple a week and none for dinner. Within a month or so of changing NOTHING else I lost 5-8 pounds. Then in October I decided that I would get some exercise and started swimming. Now 6-7 months later I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’m at 198, and am much stronger so I’ve lost more fat than that. I feel it was almost ALL beer since now I might have one or two a week at most, some weeks none at all. I’ve always eaten pretty much the same thing, cold ceral in the morning, some sort of sandwich for lunch and noddles for dinner all in the same amounts too.

The swimming HAS helped but I lost some of the gut in the first couple of months just without the beer.

I don’t have a cite for this but I remember reading that a beer gut may be composed of an enlarged liver.

Speaking from personal experience…

As I’ve stated before, I was stationed for 10 years in Germany. This led to MASSIVE quantities of beer drunk. Being 6’2" I could safely let myself pork up quite a bit before the Army would crack down on my weight. I actually got up to almost 250 lbs :eek:

Then I was deployed to Desert Storm. No booze at all for several months in a desrt environment caused me to drop down to 180 lbs. Of course, as soon as I got back to Germany, it was back to the beer drinking and I quickly (within about 1.5 months) went back up to 220.

Now then, I DID lose all the extra weight by the time I got out of the service but, after getting out, I found myself not eating regular meals. I typically may eat once a day. Rarely more. I also drink a LOT of beer because I like the taste. Consequently, I have porked right back up to about 240. Dammit.

Conversely, my father, who NEVER drank, had the biggest damn “beer” gut I’ve ever seen. He rather liked his food.

My whole point is that it doesn’t seem to matter WHAT you eat or drink, but that if you overdo it, you’re gonna get a gut.