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Alcohol and weight gain - a double whammy.

We don't know where the term "beer belly" originated, but it has long been apparent that fat tends to accumulate in the most conspicuous places, most notably the abdomen and thighs. Why some persons tend to accumulate more fat than others on similar diets is still something of a mystery. Nonetheless, it has become evident that those who eat a lot of fat tend to get fat.

With nine calories per gram of fat, compared to four calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein, it is apparent that diets heavy in fat are more apt to produce people heavy in fat than are vegetarian diets, for example. In general, we tend to burn up the extra starch or sugar in our diets more readily than we do the extra fat. But what does this have to do with the "beer belly?"

Researchers at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland recently put people on a diet that included three ounces of pure alcohol per day. They observed that the addition of the alcohol to the diet resulted in about one-third less fat being burned up. In other words, drinking alcohol appears to make it more difficult to burn up the fat we consume. So not only does the alcohol add extra calories, but it also promotes the storage of fat.

Three ounces of pure alcohol is almost equivalent to six 12-ounce cans of beer. Considering the fact that alcohol also stimulates the appetite, it is little wonder that beer drinkers develop beer bellies. Therefore. if you must drink, lay off the beer nuts and try a stalk of celery instead.
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Dec 1, 1992
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