As middle age hits, many of us develop excess fat around our midsections. This accumulation of belly fat is often called a beer belly, pot belly, spare tire, beer gut, etc., and is more prevalent in men than in women. Even though some of the names used to refer to that protruding paunch may seem humorous, the health implications it can bring with it can be serious.
Today we are going to talk about what factors contribute to this buildup of excess abdominal fat, why it is unhealthy, and how to get rid of a beer belly quickly.
Why Is Extra Abdominal Fat Often Called A Beer Belly?
It is unknown who first used the term “beer belly,” but it obviously caught on and is still a popular term used today. Studies have shown that men drink twice as much beer as women, and they also drink about three times more total alcohol than women.
Beer is high in caloric content, with each one containing about 150 calories. Many men drink several beers in one sitting, which is often accompanied by unhealthy food choices. It is easy to lose track of how many calories we’re consuming when they’re coming from beverages. We know that when we consume too many calories, our bodies store the excess as fat. Since men gain weight first in their bellies and they seem to drink more beer than other alcoholic beverages, beer belly seems to have become the descriptive word chosen.
But beer may get a bit of a bad wrap as it is not the only cause of a protruding abdomen, nor is it the only alcohol that is full of calories.
What Contributes To The Formation Of Belly Fat?
- Alcohol can definitely contribute to the formation of belly fat because of the way it is processed by our bodies. Our liver usually works to burn fat, but when we drink beverages like beer, it has to work to burn off the alcohol, and meanwhile, the excess fat is going to our waistlines.
- Unhealthy Choices
- The buildup of abdominal fat is traditionally caused by a combination of factors and lifestyle choices, which include a lack of physical activity and eating an excess amount of calories from unhealthy food sources. Whether we drink calorie-laden sodas, and beer, or consume unhealthy foods in supersized portions, too many calories from any source can contribute to excess belly fat.
- An Imbalance In Hormones
- Hormones can be a contributing factor to belly fat in both men and women. Hormones play an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolic rate, stress levels, appetite, and libido. If hormones are out of balance, they can trigger natural responses by the body, causing us to retain excess fat in our midsections.
- Getting Older
- Age can also contribute to a bigger belly because, as people get older, their metabolism naturally slows down. Many older people cut back on their activity levels but not their calorie intake.
The combination of a high-calorie diet and a lack of exercise and core strengthening makes weight gain more likely. Also, add in the natural decline in hormone levels, which increases their propensity to store fat around the abdominal region. If the individual is a drinker, then the manifestation of a “beer belly” is even more likely.
Fat Distribution Among Genders
Men are more likely to develop belly fat than women because of their naturally occurring fat distribution. This is just the way our bodies are designed, and unfortunately, we do not get to choose the areas where we will gain or lose excess fat.
Studies have shown that a healthy body fat percentage for women is between 20% and 25% and that for men it should be less than 15%, but the way in which fat is stored is different for each gender. Men are genetically predisposed to gain weight in their midsections.
The hormone estrogen causes the body to store fat, so women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men do. Also, women tend to gain weight in different places than men because they have more subcutaneous fat. This type of fat is located right under your skin, and a certain percentage is vital to protect the organs and is instrumental in other bodily functions as well.
Most of the extra subcutaneous fat that women carry tends to accumulate and be distributed across their buttocks, arms, thighs, and abdomen. Men, on the other hand, have a greater propensity to store their excess fat calories in their bellies due to a lower total body fat percentage. Women usually have a harder time with weight loss because they carry excess subcutaneous fat, which is more resistant to dietary restrictions, and an increase in exercise or physical activity is necessary to eliminate it. Subcutaneous fat is more difficult to lose, but it presents fewer health risks.
The other type of fat that can be found in our bodies is called visceral fat, and this type of fat can significantly raise the risk of developing metabolic issues such as type 2 diabetes and coronary disease. Men are more prone to gaining this dangerous visceral fat, which can wrap around the vital organs and cause their bellies to protrude.
Consuming too much beer or alcohol and excessive calorie intake are the primary causes of a beer belly. Visceral fat is not responsive to exercise or workouts, but the good news is that visceral fat can be eliminated more easily than subcutaneous fat. If you want to get rid of a beer belly quickly, eat a healthy diet and cut back on calories.
A Beer Belly Can Cause Serious Health Issues
Excess belly fat can be a sign that you are at risk for serious health issues including:
- Heart disease and heart attack are more common among smokers, but anyone can be at risk for these conditions. When arterial plaque builds up, blood flow is reduced, and the heart suffers. Plaque is a waxy substance that forms inside the arteries that carry blood to the heart, and its accumulation is the root cause of coronary heart disease.
- Hypertension – Excessive strain on the coronary arteries causes hypertension or high blood pressure. A metabolic risk factor is a blood pressure reading of 130 over 85 mm Hg or higher.
- Stroke can occur when the flow of blood to the brain is interrupted. This can be caused by poor metabolic health and arterial damage from plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Type 2 Diabetes – Most people with diabetes have type 2, and about 85 percent of those with this condition also have metabolic syndrome. The risk of cardiovascular disease is greatly increased in people who have both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
You should know that a beer belly is a clear sign that you might have metabolic syndrome. Most of the other risk factors for metabolic syndrome do not have obvious signs or symptoms. To prevent the diseases that come with metabolic syndrome or get them under control early, it is important to keep an eye on your visceral fat levels and make losing excess belly fat a priority.
How To Get Rid Of A Beer Belly
Unfortunately, you can’t force your body to deposit fat only where it’s most convenient for you. Where you store fat depends on numerous factors, including your genetic makeup, your age, your hormone levels, and your gender. That being said, however, it is possible to limit the accumulation of dangerous visceral fat by adjusting certain aspects of your lifestyle.
Excess visceral fat can be the result of a poor diet, a lack of exercise, chronic stress, and other factors. Some factors that contribute to this type of beer belly fat may be out of your control, but there are things you can do to mitigate the accumulation of this fat.
Tips On How To Lose A Beer Belly Fast
If you are already experiencing this condition and want to know how to lose your beer belly, the following tips should be helpful.
- 1. Control Your Calorie Intake
- An excess of visceral fat is dangerous to your health, but it is very responsive to dietary changes. Make healthy food choices that are low in calories but high in nutrition. Avoid processed and prepackaged foods, fast food, junk food, and desserts full of sugar. Sodas etc. Include whole foods in your diet that contain protein and nutritious grains that will make you feel full longer and burn calories to digest.
Making changes to your diet is the most effective way to lose your beer belly quickly. This will require you to make some mental shifts so you can establish truly sustainable, healthful eating patterns. Think of it more as a mindful approach to eating than a restrictive diet that micromanages your calories.
- 2. Get Some Form Of Exercise Every Day
- Unfortunately, visceral fat is not usually responsive to just workouts and exercise. Visceral fat is reduced by burning more calories than we consume. Our bodies burn calories even when we are at rest, and there are ways to increase the rate at which these calories are burned.
People with increased muscle mass burn more calories at rest, so increasing your muscle mass helps increase your rate of caloric burn. Performing cardio and strengthening your core can also keep your metabolism running at a higher level. This will help get rid of your beer belly and keep it from coming back.
- 3. Drink Water
- Dehydration prevents the metabolism of excess fat and carbohydrates. Glycerol and fatty acids promote fat burning in the abdominal region when water molecules interact with the fat, so to facilitate the breakdown of body fat, water consumption is essential.
- 4. Get Enough Sleep
- A sufficient amount of sleep is an essential part of staying healthy. When you are trying to lose weight and get rid of a beer belly, it is even more important. Studies have reported that not getting enough sleep promotes the formation of visceral fat. The studies also revealed that “catch-up” sleep was not effective in helping reduce the visceral fat that had already formed.
It is best to take a proactive approach and prevent the accumulation of this dangerous fat through an ongoing healthy diet and lifestyle.
- 5. Find A Qualified Weight Loss Doctor To Help You
- Once a person gains a significant amount of weight, it is hard for them to lose it on their own. When we need help with other health issues, we go to a doctor and rely on them to treat us and improve our health. Likewise, seeking help from a doctor who is trained in obesity medicine when we need to improve our health through weight loss is the best choice.
A weight loss specialist like Dr. Steven Batash and his team at the Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center can help you reach your weight loss goals.
Underlying Issues Can Inhibit Weight Loss
Sometimes, metabolic issues can prevent weight loss despite your best efforts. Weight loss can be inhibited by genetic factors, stress, hormonal influences, stress, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, etc. Identifying and treating any existing underlying factors can significantly improve your weight-loss results.
Partnering with the experts at Batash Medical gives you access to unlimited support and a wide selection of weight loss tools that can make your journey a bit easier. Non-surgical weight loss procedures such as the Orbera balloon or Suture Sculpt Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty (ESG) can help you regulate how much you eat and how long you stay satisfied. Prescription medication may also be an option that will help suppress your appetite and turn off the constant “food chatter” in your head.
The OnTrack Lifestyle Coaching program that Batash offers in conjunction with the Orbera balloon or ESG will help you make permanent changes to your lifestyle so that you can maintain a healthy weight for life.
If you want to know the best way to quickly get rid of your beer belly and become healthier, set up an appointment today with one of our weight loss experts. Get started on your weight-loss journey today!