Researcher says there’s no such thing as a beer belly

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A food science professor at the University of California Davis says medical science does not support the notion of the “beer belly.”

“There’s nothing magical about the alcohol in beer, it’s just alcohol,” said professor Charles Bamforth.  Alcohol is the main source of calories in any alcoholic beverage.

Bamforth says you can develop ascites, a fluid build-up that can swell your belly, with excessive alcohol consumption.  Ascites can be caused by liver disease, and liver disease can be caused by drinking alcohol in excessive amounts.

Beer does have more calories than most other kinds of alcohol.  Beer drinkers consume larger quantities since the average beer is 12 ounces while the average glass of wine is five ounces and an average shot glass is 1.5 ounces.  That can mean a difference between consuming a couple hundred calories versus several hundred calories in one night.

Bamforth says what we might call a “beer belly” might also be more likely attributable to lifestyle than beer, because beer drinkers also enjoy bar food like burgers, sausages and fries.