People who drink more alcohol tend to have more dangerous belly fat. Avoiding alcohol is a smart choice for improving your metabolism. Opting for a drink is not going to kill you, but you might as well have all the facts when making that choice.
A new large-scale European study of more than 250,000 people from ten countries gathered data on body composition and alcohol use. Participants filled out questionnaires on lifestyle and diet and body composition was taken by trained personnel. Researchers analyzed data based on gender-specific definitions of a standard drink for each country surveyed.
One Drink A Day Increases Belly Fat In Men
For men, just one drink a day led to increased risk of greater belly fat. Those who drank beer rather than wine had substantially more belly fat. Men who were heavy drinkers, consuming more than four drinks a day, had more belly fat than those who drank less. Alcohol intake correlated with calorie intake from food, possibly because alcohol lowers inhibitions.
Drinking Beer Increases Belly Fat In Women
For women, the results were less clear. Women who drank beer rather than wine were likely to have more belly fat. But in general, women were less likely to drink beer than men, and wine consumption was much more common in women. It’s likely that the beverage choice affects body composition, particularly visceral belly fat gain. This may be one reason why researchers found less clarity in the results among the female population.
Why is it important to avoid alcohol?
It’s not just the added calories. When you drink alcohol, your body puts all other metabolic processes on hold until it has processed the alcohol. Your body can’t convert the calories from the alcohol to fat, meaning it needs to use them up, and will delay all other fat burning and energy use until the alcohol has been metabolized.
Drinking alcohol affects your hormones as well, increasing cortisol and modifying steroid metabolism in the liver. This alters androgen hormones. Men with lower androgens tend to gain belly fat. Bad news!