The Anatomy of a Beer Belly
Nowadays we see the infamous beer belly just about everywhere. More and more men have them and most want to get rid of them. Some pop up in just a few weeks over the holiday season and most end up hanging around for the rest of your life.
The Beer Belly is a fashion trend that everyone would love to avoid and with the ever expanding North American waistlines fewer are able to make it through their 20’s without one.
In today’s post we’re going to dissect, so to speak, what makes up a beer gut and 3 important steps you can take immediately to drastically reduce the inflatable tire around your mid-section.
To defeat the beast we must first understand it, get to know it and figure out what makes it tick. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of a beer belly.
Visceral Fat is Beer Belly Fat
The fat located around your internal organs and not the stuff next to your skin is responsible for your beer gut. The over accumulation of visceral fat causes weakening of the transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) and is responsible for the protruding potbelly appearance associated with a beer gut.
Normally, your organs have a thin layer of visceral fat in order to protect and insulate them. An over accumulation of visceral fat gives that firm, hardened beer belly look and can be very dangerous to your health.
Visceral fat is one of the hardest adipose tissues to get rid of but it can be done.
Subcutaneous Fat is Not Beer Belly Fat
The fat underneath your skin is subcutaneous fat and although it looks bad, flops around a bit and can increase the size of your beer gut- it is not the main cause of your beer belly.
Subcutaneous fat is deposited in various fat stores around your body. Typically men deposit fat around their midsection first (beer belly and love handles) and back, chest, thighs and ass secondly. Women deposit subcutaneous fat in their hips, thighs and butt first and beer belly second.
Your genetics play a major role in determining the distribution of subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is easier to lose than visceral fat. Typically it is used as energy storage and insulation by the body. Unfortunately in today’s day and age, due to over-consumption of refined sugars and starches there is an over accumulation of subcutaneous fat. We are storing way more energy than we are using and this is not a good thing.
Beer Belly Health Risks
Beer bellies that measure 40 inches or greater are directly related to some serious health conditions. Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and increased risk of stroke are all more prevalent in men with beer bellies. These conditions are no laughing matter and worst-case scenario can lead to an early death.
Add 6 inches to the 40 already around your waist and your beer gut falls into the category of abdominal obesity. Yep- you’re not just the guy with the big beer gut anymore, you are clinically obese. Time to do something about it.
How can I tell if my beer belly is visceral fat?
Because visceral fat is packed deep inside and around your internal organs there is no easy way to tell how much a person might have. The most accurate way to gauge your visceral fat level is by CT scan but that isn’t always an option for everyone.
To start, a “beer gut” is a pretty good indication of visceral fat accumulation. Secondly, men tend to internalize visceral fat more easily than women do. Thirdly, Caucasians tend to have more than African Americans. And lastly the older you are- the more fat you internalize and store around your organs versus subcutaneously when you are young.
Either way- fat tissue is fat tissue and it is important to reduce the amount you have throughout your body. Here are 3 simple steps you can take to reduce your beer gut and overall body fat percentage:
3 Simple Steps to Lose Your Beer Belly
1. Stop eating anything in a bag or box.
When trying to lose your beer belly you should avoid processed and refined foods that are high in sugar, sugar derivatives and preservatives. Foods like this cause a toxic environment within your body wreak havoc on your system rob you of energy making you sluggish and tired and lead to beer belly fat gain.
Avoiding processed/refined foods and eating whole food, as close to their natural state as possible is one of the easiest ways to help lose the beer gut.
2. Incorporate a combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) along with strength resistance training into your daily workout routine.
Hopefully you are working out in the first place, and if not, get started because that is your first problem. But if you are already working out studies support the combination of high intensity interval training and strength resistance training to be far superior to steady state cardio or weight training alone.
High intensity interval training is a form of cardio that utilizes shorts burst of intense activity followed by a quick rest period repeated for either a length of time or a number of repetitions.
The intensity of both the strength resistance training and the HIIT is very important as researchers at Duke University concluded that low to moderate activity levels were not intense enough to contribute to visceral beer belly fat loss. You have to hit it hard when you workout if you want to lose your beer gut.
3. Drink beer.
That is a statement you probably would not expect to see in an article on the anatomy of beer belly. In all honesty, beer is not the culprit when it comes to losing your beer gut. Enjoyed in moderation, beer can be considered a healthy beverage when compared to all the sugary soda pop and fruit juice most of the world consumes. People’s waistlines are expanding due to the over consumption of processed sugars and not beer.
When it comes to drinking beer in moderation, here are the rules:
• For men- 5-7 beers per week with no more than 2 or 24 oz in 24-hour period.
• For women- 5-7 beers per week with no more than 1 or 12 oz in a 24-hour period.
Unfortunately for all you weekend warriors who would prefer to pound back a case of 12 on a Saturday night, studies support the link between binge drinking and visceral beer belly fat gain.
Beer Belly Wrap Up
If someone mentions the term “beer gut”, thoughts of a Homer Simpson-Esque physique pop into my head. Don’t let me picture you.
Adopt the “earn your beer” mentality, put in a good hard workout and reward yourself with an ice-cold beer at the end of the day. It is as simple as that to lose the beer gut. No secret, magic bullet, pills or potions… just good honest hard work and you will be well on your way to losing the beer belly.
Yours in health,