The Truth about the

Beer-the beverage favored by most men nationwide. It could accompany your nightly dinner or favorite TV program. A six-pack may join you during your weekend barbeque or while you watch the game. Regardless of when you consume it, one thing tends to remain-the beer belly.

You've seen it. Perhaps you even have one.  But does indulging in the occasional beer or two really result in a bulging belly that hangs nearly over the belt?

Depending on the amount you drink, it can. According to The Center for Alcohol Research in Denmark, people who drink large amounts of alcohol in one or two sittings are more likely to be "apple-shaped." Professor Morton Gronbeck--a lead professor at the center--stated, "[Excessive drinkers] tend to be abdominally obese, but drinking the same amount of alcohol spread out over the week would not give you an apple shape."

However, beer alone isn't always the only culprit. Often the foods that accompany it are to blame as well. The fried, fat-laden, carb-heavy foods that are eaten while drinking contribute to abdominal heaviness.

Not a Beer Drinker?

Even if you don't necessarily prefer beer, you could be at risk for a drinker's gut. According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking too much alcohol of any kind can increase belly fat. Sure, you may not be ingesting the simple carbs associated with a pint of beer, but the sugary, high-calorie mixed drink you enjoy when you come home from work certainly doesn't help.

Risks of a Big Belly

Those who gain an excessive amount of belly fat tend to be at higher risk for serious health concerns, including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High triglycerides

Want to Shrink Your Belly?

Just because you want to shed a few pounds and lead a healthier lifestyle doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself. The following tips will help you lose weight without having to give up the occasional libation.

Leave drinking to the weekends. Even if you have one drink per night, the total adds up over five days. Skip the post-work drinks and leave your alcoholic intake to your downtime on weekends.

Drink in moderation. Simply put: Less alcohol equals more weight shed.

Watch what you eat. Don't make a bad situation worse by pairing your stout with buffalo wings and fries. If you're going to indulge in a few cold ones, make sure the meal that accompanies (or precedes) it is low in fat and simple carbs.