A German study has revealed that drinking beer is not the main cause of a “beer belly”, although it can contribute to overall fatness.
The research team from the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Fulda University of Applied Sciences and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden analyzed the weight as well as the hip and waist measurements of nearly 20,000 people over four years.
Participants were asked to detail how much beer they drank and what else they consumed each day.
Their beer consumption was placed into a number of categories, from “very light” to “heavy”.
The researchers concluded that their study “does not support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly”.
“Beer consumption seems to be rather associated with an increase in overall body fatness,” the research team wrote in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Women were placed in four categories from “no beer” to “moderate drinkers”. Men were put in five categories from “no beer” to “heavy drinkers”.
For women, “moderate” meant consuming at least 250 ml of beer a day. For men, “moderate” meant 500 to 1000ml a day.
Their estimates were based on the size of a typical bottle of beer in Germany.
A beer belly was defined as one that bulges distinctly as the waist and was proportionally large in comparison to hip measurement and body size.
The scientists concluded that beer consumption did lead to a rise in waist size, but that this was closely related to overall weight gain in both men and women.
A study in the Czech Republic, published in 2003 in the same medical journal, went as far as to say that drinking beer by itself does not cause much change in weight.
However, the scientists involved in the German study believe that the Czech research was flawed.