Why Do So Many Americans Have "Beer Bellies"?


There is no link between beer and a beer belly, belly fat, and a beer gut. That belief is a myth. Revealing that makes me feel like a "myth buster".


There is no scientific evidence that those who drink beer will develop abdominal obesity. In fact, drinking beer in moderation may have some health benefits (vitamins and minerals).


Calories In versus Calories Out!

Because each beer has approximately 150 calories (lite beer - 100 or less), it is the caloric intake that results in obesity. In addition, the "bar food" that we wash down with beer can add lots of calories. I'm referring to the burgers, pizza and fried foods that can be a major temptation.

Central obesity (beer belly) has a strong correlation with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis in women. The cause of the obesity, which is rampant in the United States, is excessive calories. The source of the calories is not important as one's body cannot tell the difference between beer calories or any other calories.

Run the Calories Off!

One pound of fat equals approximately 3500 calories of energy. A 150 pound person that runs at a 10 minute per mile pace will burn approximately 110 calories. A 200 pound person at the same pace would burn about 160 calories. Therefore, to burn off one pound of fat one would need to run between 22 and 32 miles depending on one's weight.

When I was learning to control my weight, I remember saying to myself, that 75 calorie cookie is going to require nearly a 3/4 mile run to burn off those calories. For me, it wasn't worth it.

Walk the Calories Off!

To walk off the beer belly, your weight and the distance that you walk are more important than your speed. For a person who weighs 120 pounds, a one mile walk will burn approximately 65 calories.

A person who weighs 180 pounds will burn about 100 calories per mile. So, using my 75 calorie cookie example, will require a walk of 3/4 miles.

A McDonald's Big Mac has 550 calories. A Burger King's whopper with cheese has 770 calories. I'll do the math. If you're 120 pounds you can walk off the Big Mac in 8.5 miles and the whopper in about 12 miles. If your 180 pounds, the Big Mac calories are gone in 5.5 miles and the whopper in 7.7 miles.

Males and Females Are Different!

The extra weight that men and women put on ends up in different areas of the body. The determining factors are sex, hormones, and age.

Women tend to put on extra flab in the buttocks, thighs, hips, and upper arms. After menopause the fat may move more towards the belly.

Men are more likely to put extra pounds on in the upper body, particularly around the waist (beer belly). That tendency is worldwide.

In the over fifty age group, 50 percent of men and nearly 70 percent of women in the United States have abdominal obesity. That is, they exceed the waist circumference threshold for plumpness.

"If It Is To Be, It's Up To Me!"

I am a firm believer of the "calories in versus calories out" theory of weight loss. If anyone takes in more calories than they burn, they will put on weight. And the body will store those calories as fat.

It is believed by many that health risks are more of a motivating factor than looking good - when it comes to weight loss.

Or maybe it's those cutesy nicknames such as: "beer belly", "pot belly", and "love handles" that will motivate a person to lose some weight.

The most effective type of exercise (other than pushing yourself away from the table) is cardiovascular (aerobic) combined with resistance or strength training (weights). Combine this with a healthy diet and you are on your way to a healthier life.

"Spot exercise" can increase the size of the muscles in an area. For example, sit ups will increase the size of abdominal muscles, but it will not reduce the fat in that area. Although, mid-section fat tends to be lost first. And forget about those late-night infomercials that promise to eliminate your "belly fat".

Finally, there are several bars and restaurants in the United States that apparently cater to those overweight. There are many named "Beer Belly".


A Paleo based nutrition and fitness programs designed for busy moms!

Switching to a Paleo diet from a standard American diet is one of the best things you can do for your health.  If you cut out all the processed foods, grains, and sugary treats, you will most likely find yourself losing some weight and feeling healthier and more energized. 

Click here to view more details

Return to the top of Beer Belly   *   Healthy Choices