The Beer Belly Myth: Does Beer Really Cause Weight Gain?

The Truth Behind A Beer Belly

Beer Belly. Credit: Suzanne Tucker/

Does the consumption of beer lead to weight gain and the infamous beer belly? The answer to this question may come as a surprise.

The common belief is that beer consumption leads to obesity, particularly abdominal obesity. On Monday, August 21, an article in Ok Diario explored various aspects of beer, including its calorie content and also its health benefits.

Contrary to popular belief, beer is a beverage with few calories and saturated fats. The average content is 43 calories per 100 millilitres, meaning that a small glass of beer (caña) contains about 75 calories. Therefore, beer itself does not contribute significantly to weight gain.

However, if you consume two, three, or four glasses, the calories add up. When combined with typical accompaniments like crisps or chips, the total caloric intake can be somewhat high. This is why beer is often blamed for abdominal obesity.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

What about non-alcoholic beer? It has half the calories of regular beer, making it the least fattening option. Ascension Marcos, a professor of Research at the Institute of Food Science and Technology and Nutrition (ICTAN) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), explains, ‘The research is conclusive regarding beer consumption and the increase in skin folds, i.e. the classic beer belly, or weight gain: there is no relationship between them as long as beer consumption is low,’ as reported by La Vanguardia.

Beer Benefits

When consumed in moderation, beer offers interesting health benefits. It’s good for the heart, reducing cardiovascular risk due to its high content of polyphenols. The natural ingredients in beer also regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of kidney stones. Lastly, it helps strengthen bones, containing minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and silicon.

What Are The Main Causes Of A ‘Beer Belly?’

According to Synergy Wellness Centre, the ‘beer belly’ is often due to a combination of unhealthy habits such as poor diet, excess calories, lack of exercise, and hormonal changes. Alcohol, including beer, can contribute to belly fat, but the main factor is the overall intake of calories, regardless of their source. The waistline expands due to too many calories, not specifically those from beer or any particular food or drink.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.