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Good Question: Does Beer Really Create Beer Bellies?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Many viewers of the Vikings game Sunday may have taken in some adult beverages; perhaps a beer or two. So, we thought this would be a good time to answer a question from Bruce in Blaine: How much does beer contribute to a beer belly?

Allina Health cardiologist Dr. Courtney Baechler says beer bellies are a bit of a myth.

“Culturally speaking, men tend to drink a little more beer than women, and it’s the perfect nitus to get fat because it’s a lot of carbohydrates,” Dr. Baechler said.

Rarely, if ever, have we heard the terms “wine belly” or “Bloody Mary belly.”

“Both wine and hard alcohol tends to be something people drink a little more moderately,” Dr. Baechler says. “Beer tends to be something people drink in higher quantities.”

Men are more likely to carry weight in their bellies and women in their hips and thighs. On average, women carry 6-11 percent more fat than men.

“It really changes after menopause. When women go through that, they carry it in their bellies like men, so it seems to be estrogen dependent,” Dr. Baechler said.

She says the reason this happens is a bit of mystery, but a lot comes down to genetics. Also, very few people know their actual waist size, which is the measurement near our belly button or where the waist goes in. For women, it needs to be under 35, and for men it’s under 40.

Dr. Baechler says belly fat is based on what people eat, and the best way to get rid of it is to eat better with less processed foods, more vegetables and whole grains.

“If someone eats well, their belly fat is really low,” she said.

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