As you get older, grabbing a beer or two with the guys might not seem as carefree as it used to be. Now, after a casual night out of drinking, you may start to notice changes in your body. The main one, being one of the very first things you notice when you look in the mirror when you can’t see the waistline of your pants.
That’s right. You have a beer belly.
You may not have realized it was happening, but as you’ve aged, there are several factors that have contributed to your overhanging gut.
What Technically is a Beer Belly?
While the term gets its name from consuming too much beer, there are in fact other contributors to this specific weight gain in men. A beer belly is essentially excess abdominal fat that collects at the belly.
How Does a Beer Belly Form?
Here are some of the top contributors to a beer belly:
So why is this belly fat named after our beer consumption? The easy answer is because beer is just unnecessary, extra calorie consumption. When your body takes in more calories, it prevents the burning of fat. Basically, your liver will start burning away the alcohol before the fat and that is why it builds up over time.
Also, when we drink too much, our appetites often increase — even if we’re not hungry. Beer also contains phytoestrogens, plant compounds that can cause hormonal changes in men that increase the risk of storing belly fat.
Sugary Foods & Beverages
Sodas, diet sodas, candy, etc. Cut down on these things immediately if you have a beer belly. The more sugar you take in, the more excess belly fat you’ll compile.
High-protein diets make us feel full and satisfied and give our bodies more energy to burn off fat. If you aren’t eating enough protein, make the change to your diet today.
If you are overly stressed, you are releasing cortisol into your body. Cortisol is our “fight or flight” survival hormone. The more we stress, the more cortisol we release, and unfortunately this hormone can lead to weight gain. Not to mention, if you’re stressed you may have a tendency to eat more comfort foods, and binging on unhealthy foods certainly won’t help.
Should I Be Worried About My Beer Belly?
It depends on how severe your beer belly is. The type of fat stored in the belly is called visceral fat, which is just another term for fat that builds up over time in the center of the body.
Even if you are a person of healthy weight, the amount of fat stored in your belly could be dangerous to your health and increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and more. Set up an appointment with your doctor to determine how much fat is actually stored in your belly and how it is affecting your overall health.
How Can I Get Rid of a Beer Belly?
It may seem like the obvious answer, but it is absolutely essential that you lose weight in order to get your beer belly under control. If you or a loved one is elderly and having a hard time losing this weight, we share tips to help.
Consult with your doctor to come up with a balanced plan of both physical activity and a healthy diet. Try adding the following into your diet to help burn more belly fat for energy:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
As you get older, it is important to check your health regularly. Download our guide, “The Most Concerning Health Issues for Older Adults,” to learn more about how your body changes when you age and what health issues you could be more susceptible to.