eli5: What is actually causing the “beer belly” appearance?

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I was wondering how people get beer belly just by frequent drinking. Is it just body fat? Are your organs getting larger or something? Is beer actually making your stomach large and round or are you just gaining weight?

In: Biology

16 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It’s a combination of two factors, firstly you are building up fat around your liver as a by product of the liver digesting alcohol for calories. This in general creates the bloated appearance.

BUT it’s not the “normal thing” for your body to create large fat stores *inside* your organ-area, fat is usually out by the skin.

So as your organ area swells with fat it starts to push outwards against the muscles and skin which is where the classic “beer belly” comes from – that beach-ball of tight skin stretched over muscles, filled with fat. *That’s* the reason why beer bellies aren’t just soft and chubby – they are so round and hard as well.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think one of the main reasons is that alcohol consumption increases levels of cortisol, which promotes the storage of fat in the abdominal area. This is because of many things including the fact that blood flow is typically concentrated around the abdomen, as well as there being many more cortisol receptors in this region. As well as that, alcohol consumption just inherently promotes fat via de novo lipogenesis, as well as it just being calorie-heavy in the first place.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I used to drink a ton for years and got the point where I looked pregnant which was GD ridiculous. It finally made me angry enough to make changes – cutting back (but not quitting) on drinking, switching from mostly beer/some liquor to mostly liquor/some beer, exercise and eating better. In 4-6 weeks I’ve seen significant results (but still not where I want to be).

Anonymous 0 Comments

To add to this, many men who have a beer gut also have poor muscle tone, and have diastasis recti. Which can cause the belly to bulge and distend.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I’ve read that men are more likely to put on weight in the belly area while with women fat tends to get spread more over the entire body but I have no idea if that is true, perhaps someone with medical knowledge can chip in

Anonymous 0 Comments

Pretty much every part of alcohol metabolism shuts off fat burning networks and upticks fat forming networks in the body.
Alcohol itself is processed into the building block of fat as well

Anonymous 0 Comments

My dad had the same thing for reasons I can’t understand. Growing up, he was not an alcoholic, in fact he rarely ever drank any alcohol. However, he has a pretty substantially sized beer belly. Is it possible for this to occur by other means, not just alcohol?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Its high levels of insulin plus carbs. The beer belly appearance is both enlargement of visceral fat, and swelling intestines. More so swelling intestines.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In my case, besides some belly fat most of it was enlarged organs, inflamed intestine and colon… I’m having surgery soon to fix it

Anonymous 0 Comments

How long before it goes away? Can it go away? I would like it to go away!!