Beer consumption and the 'beer belly': scientific basis or common belief?
ABSTRACT The term 'beer belly' expresses the common belief that beer consumption is a major determinant of waist circumference (WC). We studied the gender-specific associations between beer consumption and WC (partially in relation to body weight and hip circumference (HC) change).
Within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam study (7876 men, 12 749 women), cross-sectional associations were investigated applying general linear models. Prospective analyses of baseline beer consumption and an 8.5-year WC change were assessed using multivariate general linear models and polytomous logistic regression. To test the site-specific effect of beer consumption on WC, an adjustment for concurrent changes in body weight and HC was carried out. In addition, the relationship between change in beer consumption and change in WC was studied.
A positive association in men and no association in women were seen between beer consumption and WC at baseline. Men consuming 1000 ml/d beer were at 17% higher risk for WC gain compared with very light consumers. Significantly lower odds for WC gain (odds ratio=0.88; 95% confidence interval 0.81, 0.96) were found in beer-abstaining women than in very-light-drinking women. The adjustment for concurrent body weight and HC change diminished effect estimates notably, explaining most of the association between beer and change in WC. Decreasing beer consumption was related to higher relative odds for WC loss, although not statistically significant.
Beer consumption leads to WC gain, which is closely related to concurrent overall weight gain. This study does not support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly.
- SourceAvailable from: Martin Brandhagen
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- "Type of alcoholic beverages and centralized fat distribution Earlier studies on different types of alcohol containing beverages on abdominal obesity have also shown conflicting results. Some studies have found association between beer consumption and central obesity (Vadstrup et al., 2003; Krachler et al., 2006) whereas other prospective studies have not found this association (Schutze et al., 2009) or inconsistent results (Bobak et al., 2003). Sakurai et al., found that spirits consumption was associated with increased waist girth but not with BMI (Sakurai et al., 1997). "
ABSTRACT: Alcohol and dietary fat have high energy densities and may therefore be related to body weight and fat deposition. We studied associations between alcohol and macronutrient intake patterns and general and central adiposity. A population-based cross-sectional study of 524 men and 611 women. The participants answered a dietary questionnaire describing habitual food consumption including intake of alcoholic beverages. Macronutrient intake was analysed in relation to anthropometric measures and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry determined body fat. In women, total alcohol intake was negatively associated with body fat percentage (β:-0.67, P<0.01). In men, total alcohol intake was positively associated with sagittal abdominal diameter (SAD) (β: 0.28, P=0.01). In addition, positive associations were found between intake of alcohol from spirits and body fat percentage (β: 1.17, P<0.05), SAD (β: 0.52, P<0.05) and waist circumference (β: 2.29, P=0.01). In men, protein intake was positively associated with body mass index (BMI) (β: 0.03, P=0.001), body fat percentage (β: 0.04, P<0.05), SAD (β: 0.02, P=0.01) and waist circumference (β: 0.09, P<0.01). Also in men only, negative associations between fat intake and BMI (β: -0.03, P<0.01), SAD (β: -0.02, P<0.05) and waist circumference (β: -0.05, P<0.05) were found. Alcohol intake was inversely associated to relative body fat in women whereas spirits consumption was positively related to central and general obesity in men. Macronutrient intakes, particularly protein and fat, were differently associated with obesity indicators in men versus women. This may reflect a differential effect by gender, or differential obesity related reporting errors in men and women.European journal of clinical nutrition 11/2011; 66(3):305-13. DOI:10.1038/ejcn.2011.189 · 2.95 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The increased recognition that the worldwide increase in incidence of obesity is due to a positive energy balance has lead to a focus on lifestyle choices that may contribute to excess energy intake, including the widespread belief that alcohol intake is a significant risk factor for development of obesity. This brief review examines this issue by contrasting short-term laboratory-based studies of the effects of alcohol on appetite and energy balance and longer-term epidemiological data exploring the relationship between alcohol intake and body weight. Current research clearly shows that energy consumed as alcohol is additive to that from other dietary sources, leading to short-term passive over-consumption of energy when alcohol is consumed. Indeed, alcohol consumed before or with meals tends to increase food intake, probably through enhancing the short-term rewarding effects of food. However, while these data might suggest that alcohol is a risk factor for obesity, epidemiological data suggests that moderate alcohol intake may protect against obesity, particularly in women. In contrast, higher intakes of alcohol in the absence of alcohol dependence may increase the risk of obesity, as may binge-drinking, however these effects may be secondary to personality and habitual beverage preferences.Physiology & Behavior 04/2010; 100(1):82-9. DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.01.012 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Given the recognized health effects of visceral fat, the understanding of how diet can modulate changes in the phenotype "waist circumference for a given body mass index (WC(BMI))", a proxy measure of visceral adiposity, is deemed necessary. Hence, the objective of the present study was to assess the association between dietary factors and prospective changes in visceral adiposity as measured by changes in the phenotype WC(BMI). We analyzed data from 48,631 men and women from 5 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at baseline and after a median follow-up time of 5.5 years. WC(BMI) was defined as the residuals of waist circumference regressed on body mass index, and annual change in WC(BMI) (DeltaWC(BMI), cm/y) was defined as the difference between residuals at follow-up and baseline, divided by follow-up time. The association between energy, energy density (ED), macronutrients, alcohol, glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), fibre and DeltaWC(BMI) was modelled using centre-specific adjusted linear regression, and random-effects meta-analyses to obtain pooled estimates. Men and women with higher ED and GI diets showed significant increases in their WC(BMI), compared to those with lower ED and GI [1 kcal/g greater ED predicted a DeltaWC(BMI) of 0.09 cm (95% CI 0.05 to 0.13) in men and 0.15 cm (95% CI 0.09 to 0.21) in women; 10 units greater GI predicted a DeltaWC(BMI) of 0.07 cm (95% CI 0.03 to 0.12) in men and 0.06 cm (95% CI 0.03 to 0.10) in women]. Among women, lower fibre intake, higher GL, and higher alcohol consumption also predicted a higher DeltaWC(BMI). Results of this study suggest that a diet with low GI and ED may prevent visceral adiposity, defined as the prospective changes in WC(BMI). Additional effects may be obtained among women of low alcohol, low GL, and high fibre intake.PLoS ONE 07/2010; 5(7):e11588. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0011588 · 3.53 Impact Factor