We have all seen the stereotype – fat beer guzzler, with a large protruding gut that would put Santa to shame. The beer gut is first called “the freshman 15” (or more) when you are in college. Later people call it for what it is, the beer gut. The question is, can beer really give you a beer gut?
Research shows it’s the calories, not the beer
In 2003, the Journal of Nutrition published a study to examine this very question. Scientists followed more than 2,300 drinkers and non-drinkers aged 35 to 79. They measured the body-mass index (BMI) and the abdominal height of each subject. The abdominal height is the distance from your spine to the top of your abdomen (how far your tummy sticks out).
Scientists at the University of New York at Buffalo found wine drinkers who had one glass a day tended to have the smallest gut, smaller than non-drinkers on average. The scientists did also note that the wine drinkers tended to exercise more. Beer drinkers had no more or less tummy fat than the non-drinkers on average. Spirit drinkers were the chunkiest of the group. Maybe we should start calling the beer gut the vodka gut.
Moderate drinkers have smaller stomachs
Researchers also found drinking affected the belly fat of drinkers who drank sporadically more than drinkers who drank regularly. Drinkers who drank 1 to 2 drinks per day generally had smaller guts than those who drank 1 to 2 drinks per week. The biggest surprise was frequent moderate drinkers had smaller stomachs than non-drinkers on average.
So beer does not give you a beer gut, and there is some evidence that moderate regular drinking actually helps your beer gut. Of course, if you are drinking heavy or large amounts of spirits all bets are off. Your best bet for the Super Bowl is to have a couple, but don’t go crazy – unless your team wins. You can always try again next year!
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