When I was in high school, I came across this Chinese-mestizo guardian of one of my classmates. He owned a grocery store right at the heart of the poblacion, just adjacent to the market. His store looked like the typical big grocery stores nowadays except that his was elongated.
Whenever we had something to buy for the girls we courted, we passed by his grocery store and man… he indeed had a very big belly. I would say then it was as big as a drum.
“Oh yeah,” exclaimed my good friend Teodorico, also a Chinese-mestizo. “Mother said he could drink a case of beer and would still be wanting more!”
Drinking beer is often associated with an increase in body fat, particularly around the belly. This is even commonly referred to as a “beer belly.”
But does beer really cause belly fat, fellas? Let’s take a look from what Healthline says:
The nutritional value of beer can vary by type. However, below are the amounts for a 12-oz (355-ml) serving of regular beer, with approximately 4% alcohol content (2):
Alcohol: 14 grams
Carbs: 13 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 0 grams
Why do beer drinkers develop big bellies?
First, gram for gram, beer contains as many calories as a soft drink, so it has the potential to add a lot of calories to your diet. Some studies have also shown that drinking alcohol can increase your appetite in the short term, causing you to eat more than you otherwise would. This means that drinking beer regularly could contribute a significant number of calories to your diet.
Second, drinking alcohol can prevent your body from burning fat. This is because your body prioritizes the breakdown of alcohol over other sources of fuel, including stored fat. In theory, regular drinking could therefore contribute to an increase in body fat.
Third, it contains phytoestrogens plant compounds that can mimic the action of the female sex hormone estrogen in your body. Because of their phytoestrogen content, it has been suggested that the hops in beer might cause hormonal changes in men that increase the risk of storing belly fat.
And fourth, beer drinkers usually demand pulutan like dinakdakan, roasted meat, internal organs and other fatty foods – all contributory foods to make one obese.
Aside from beer, men’s belly grow big due to the following reasons, too:
Many people take in more sugar every day than they realize. High-sugar foods include cakes and candies, along with so-called “healthier” choices like muffins and frozen yogurt. Soda, flavored coffee drinks and sweet tea are among the most popular sugar-sweetened beverages which men like very much.
Another cause is the high consumption of trans fats. Trans fats are the unhealthiest fats on the planet. They’re created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats in order to make them more stable. Trans fats are often used to extend the shelf lives of packaged foods, such as muffins, baking mixes and crackers. Trans fats increase inflammation that may drive insulin resistance and the accumulation of belly fat.
A bigger cause of big bellies is inactivity.
A passive lifestyle is one of the biggest risk factors for poor health. Over the past few decades, people have generally become less active. This has likely played a role in the rising rates of obesity, including abdominal obesity. One study also suggests that inactivity contributes to the regain of belly fat after losing weight.
fat regain after weight loss.
Low-protein diet comes next. Getting adequate dietary protein is one of the most important factors in preventing weight gain. High-protein diets make you feel full and satisfied, increase your metabolic rate and lead to a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake.
Another culprit are sweet fruit juices and softdrinks. Even unsweetened 100% fruit juice contains a lot of sugar.
In fact, an 8 oz (250 ml) of apple juice and cola each contain 24 grams of sugar. The same amount of grape juice packs a whopping 32 grams of sugar. Although fruit juice provides some vitamins and minerals, the fructose it contains can drive insulin resistance and promote belly fat gain.
Cortisol is a hormone that’s essential for survival. It’s produced by the adrenal glands and is known as a “stress hormone” because it helps your body to mount a stress response. Unfortunately, it can lead to weight gain when produced in excess, especially in the abdominal region. In many people, stress drives overeating. But instead of the excess calories being stored as fat all over the body, cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly.
Diet that’s low in fiber and high on carbs is another reason. Fiber is incredibly important for good health and controlling your weight.
Not having enough sleep is another factor. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your health. Many studies have also linked inadequate sleep with weight gain, which may include abdominal fat. Those who slept 5 hours or less per night were 32% more likely to gain 32 lbs (15 kg) than those who slept at least 7 hours.
So, what solutions can we recommend, fellas?
Eat a healthy diet. Focus on plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean sources of protein such as fish and low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated fat, found in meat and high-fat dairy products, such as cheese and butter. Also limit processed meats. Choose moderate amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — found in fish, nuts and certain vegetable oils — instead.
Eat less, move more. Even when you’re making healthy choices, calories add up. At home, slim down your portion sizes. In restaurants, share meals — or eat half your meal and take the rest home.
Replace sugary beverages. Drink water or beverages with artificial sweetener instead.
Include physical activity in your daily routine. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity, such as running, for at least 75 minutes a week.
In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you might need to exercise more.
I have a big belly, too, fellas, and it has been bothering me through the years. Big-bellied men couldn’t move as fast as the slim ones. It bothers me a lot whenever I wear my socks as my belly is trapped between my legs and my body.
Obese men are also the subject of ridicule among people, calling them baboy (pig) or nuang (carabao).
Others call them “butiog, dambuhala, elepante or dinosaur!”
“Big belly na nga, heavyweight pa!” exclaimed Mang Maing. “I wonder if he still has pants or shirts available for sale in the market!”
So, the next time you drink that beer or softdrink, munch that sugar-sweet chicheria or devour the crispy pata, think again, fellas. You wouldn’t like to be called baboy, butiog, elepante or dambuhala!