by Paul Dexter, copyright dextertraining.com
The Beer Belly Explained
“How come I can diet, and diet, but I just can’t lose that fat around my belly!?” This is a question that my trainers and I have heard all too often. All calories are not created equal. For every gram of carbs and protein there are 4 calories, fat has 9, and alcohol has 7.5. The kicker is that your body hates to burn fat (as we all know), so it chooses carbs first as the body’s main source for fuel. Alcohol has to be turned into fat before it can be burned off! So, if you eat well, but drink too much, the alcohol you consume has to convert to fat before it ever gets burned off. Now, most people never tap into their fat stores often enough to make a dent to that newly converted fat storage. Even though your calories might not be that high, the excess alcohol will convert to fat, leading to additional abdominal fat….”the beer belly”.
Why? Let me explain.
First, one must understand the word “moderation”. A drink or two once in awhile doesn’t hurt anyone. Anything in excess isn’t good. The body is a machine; once you understand how it works you can have a better handle on your appearance, and more importantly your health. The foods we eat control hormones in our body that dictates whether we gain fat or lose fat. Too many carbs will equal high insulin levels which encourages fat storage. Too little will cause muscle breakdown, lowering metabolism. One must find a balance that controls insulin/ blood sugar levels maximizing a “healthy” hormonal environment. The perfect balance is different for everyone one, but for the most part you should shoot to get the majority of your calories from carbs and protein.
Drinking alcohol interferes with the body’s weight regulation system by preventing fat cells from releasing fat for fuel. It does this by suppressing the effects Catecholamine’s (adrenaline hormones), and enzyme that controls the release of HSL (hormone sensitive lipase) which actively determines your capacity to lose weight.
Drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages affects both sides of the energy equation. Every gram of alcohol has 7.5 calories – almost as much as fat. A typical 8 ounce beer contains 150 calories. If you drink 6 beers, that’s an extra 900 calories (3,500 calories make up one pound of fat). Also, most importantly, that much alcohol inhibits your fat cells from releasing fat. Your gut starts to grow: you deposit fat rapidly from drinking extra calories and use less fat as fuel for metabolism because alcohol inhibits fat breakdown. Consequently, you get a beer belly.
Did you know?-
Rum and coke = 300 calories
Beer = 150-300 calories
Cosmo/Martini/Margarita = 300-500 calories
Long island Ice tea = 750 calories
Wine = 200 calories
Frozen mudslide/daiquiri/etc. = 1,100 calories
1 shot of vodka = 70 calories