Busting the obesity myth

Of all the health myths surrounding beer, none is more enduring than that of the beer belly.  And, whilst there is no general consensus as to the relation of obesity to moderate alcohol intake, there is a common misconception that beer drinkers are, on average, more obese than non-drinkers or those who drink wine or spirits.

If this association is true, you would expect that beer intake would have an effect on general measures of obesity, such as waist-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI). However, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that in general beer intake is unlikely to be associated with changes in
these measurements.1

The amount of calories in alcoholic beverages is proportionally linked to the quantity of alcohol. Therefore, when you compare other alcoholic drinks by volume, beer has a relatively low calorific value.

A quick look at the ingredients and processes that go into beer will confirm the logic of these figures – there is very little sugar in beer as it has nearly all been used by the yeast as a food source during fermentation. Additionally, beer is around 95% water, and the major ingredients barley and hops are both plant materials, which contain virtually no fat. Also, consider how beer is consumed at home.  As beer is primarily sold in single serve containers such as cans or bottles, it is much easier to keep track of how much you are drinking both in terms of calories and alcoholic units than with drinks you pour for yourself,  such as wines or spirits.

In summary, when you take a good look at the facts, it becomes evident that the so-called beer belly has nothing to do with the beer drinkers’ choice of drink, but to other factors, such as food and exercise.  In reality, if consumed in moderation and alongside a healthy lifestyle, beer will not cause you to get fat.