Have you recently touched your belly and have been shocked by how firm it feels? If so, then you need to address this issue at once. Although we are not here to raise your alarm, the fact is that a hard beer belly is a ticking time bomb. Sooner or later, you will face the wrath of not only having belly fat but more so, a hard beer belly.
You may be wondering what causes this and how you can prevent or treat it. Although the term suggests it is caused by beer, this is not the only reason. So, do not be fooled into thinking that you are safe from this if you do not drink beer.
In this article, we will be analyzing the whole concept of a hard beer belly. We will discuss what it is, its causes, how you can determine if you have it, and how to avoid it. Keep reading to get this and more insight on a hard beer belly.
What Is A Beer Belly?
It seems that most beer lovers tend to have protruding stomachs. It has resulted in a belief and assumption that beer makes you develop a beer belly.
But is this really the case? Well, according to WebMD, your beer belly does not come from the consumption of beer. Instead, it results from the excessive calories in this drink that tend to be deposited in your belly and waistline (5).
Fat deposit around this region tends to mostly go by the name of belly fat. However, some people may refer to it as abdominal or stomach fat. Contrary to what most people think, there are two specific types of belly fat.
The first type is known as visceral fat. It refers to the fat deposit surrounding your body’s organs. The other type is known as subcutaneous fat. This, on the other hand, refers to the fat that sits under your skin (4).
What Causes A Beer Belly?
Beer lovers will assume that the fat around their belly is from the consumption of this alcoholic beverage. However, in the real sense, beer (or alcohol in general) is not the only culprit for this fat deposit. Belly fat can also be caused by (4):
A Poor Diet
This entails a diet consisting of excessive highly processed or sugary foods and drinks such as cakes and soda. Or any diet which involves consistently consuming more calories than you need every day. Of course, any alcoholic beverages (including beer) also contribute to your calorie intake and can really add up.
Lack Of Physical Activity
If you do not exercise, you tend to burn off fewer calories. Excess calories in your body may result in weight gain, specifically around your abdomen.
Believe it or not, high-stress levels may also result in belly fat. Chronically high levels of a stress hormone known as cortisol can cause you to store more fat around your belly.
Lack of adequate sleep may result in unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors, making you consume more calories. These extra calories play a part in the development of visceral or belly fat.
What Is A Hard Beer Belly?
For some people, beer bellies tend to feel hard and firm when touched. As such, they might describe their stomach as a hard beer belly. On the other hand, other beer lovers may tend to have a belly that feels jiggly and is softer to touch.
It brings about the question of whether beer reacts differently to different people. Well, this is not the reason why you are having a hard beer belly. Having a hard protruding stomach likely means that you have excessive visceral fat (3).
As mentioned earlier, this fat surrounds your abdominal organs, resulting in increased fat deposits in your belly. A buildup of this fat will make your stomach feel hard when touched or pressed (3).
The reasoning behind this is that excess visceral fat tends to be quite different from your regular body fat. It does not feel squishy or soft from the outside as it does not lie below your skin surface. Instead, it is hard as it lies deep in your abdominal area.
More and more deposits of visceral fat will eventually make your stomach feel pretty hard when touched. The thing is, a hard beer belly can be mistaken for regular weight gain (3). As such, you may tend to ignore it. This is one of the worst things you could do as this is the root of various detrimental health conditions.
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What Is The Problem With Having A Hard Beer Belly?
As mentioned earlier, your beer belly is merely belly fat. So, a hard beer belly is also a buildup of belly fat. Not only can a hard beer belly be discomforting, but it is also potentially harmful to your health. According to WebMD, a hard belly (excess visceral fat) is associated with (3):
- An increased risk of health issues such as cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, renal disease, depression, acid reflux, and fatty liver disease.
- It is also linked to fat accumulation in surrounding body organs such as your liver and body muscles.
- It reduced activeness as the excessive belly fat makes it challenging or impossible for you to participate in various daily activities.
How To Determine If You Have A Hard Beer Belly?
Just because you do not drink beer does not mean you cannot have a hard beer belly. Remember this is just a term used by beer lovers due to the assumption that their bellies result from beer consumption. The truth is that a hard beer belly is merely a buildup of visceral or abdominal fat, which can have multiple causes.
Looking back, we mentioned that numerous factors could cause visceral or belly fat. They range from a poor diet, lack of exercise, poor sleep, to high-stress levels. These risk factors increase the range of people who can acquire what we call a hard beer belly.
So, how do you determine if you have one of these hard bellies? There are several ways you can do this. These methods include:
Pressing Your Tummy
Of course, many will start by pressing or touching their bellies to determine if they are squishy or firm. The problem with this method is that there is no standard technique to distinguish a bloated tummy from a firm one.
Again, if it is your first time doing this, you might not know what exactly to look for or feel. Therefore, you might end up with inconclusive or inaccurate methods. WebMD recommends two distinct methods for more accurate results. They include (3):
Taking Your Waist Circumference
Excessive visceral fat will not only buildup in your stomach but also your waistline. You can determine how much visceral fat you are carrying around by measuring your waist circumference with a tape measure. There is a healthy range that your waist circumference is supposed to lie. For non-pregnant women, the healthy range is 35 inches and below. On the other hand, the healthy range for men is 40 inches and below (1). If your waist circumference is anything beyond this, you are advised to take the recommended measures to reduce the excessive visceral fat.
Calculating Your Waist-To-Hip Ratio
The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is also known as the waist-hip ratio. It refers to the circumference of your waist divided by the circumference of your hips (8). The measurement is vital as it is among one of the indications of your overall health.
To find out this measurement, all you need is a tape measure. Stand upright and measure both the circumference of your waist and hips. It is important to take these measurements just after you exhale for more accurate results (8).
Again, try not to tighten the tape around you as it may yield the wrong results. After taking these measurements, you will need to calculate the WHR. All you ought to do is divide the waist circumference by your hip circumference (8).
For example, if your waist circumference is 80 cm and hip circumference is 90 cm, divide 80 by 90 (80÷ 90). You can use centimeters or inches, just as long as you take both measurements in the same units. A healthy WHR for women, meaning you do not have a hard beer belly, ranges from 0.85 and below. For men, the WHR should be 0.9 and less (8).
How To Avoid A Hard Beer Belly?
The good news is that you can get rid of the beer belly, alcohol belly, hard beer belly, or whatever you want to call it. It is all possible because you can get rid of excess abdominal fat.
However, before we proceed, we must notify you of a few things. First and foremost, there is no magical pill or method of losing a beer belly, regardless if it is hard or soft. So, quit dreaming of losing your stomach fat in a week or less through a “special” pill or technique.
Secondly, you will only lose your beer belly by making a couple of lifestyle and dietary changes. Thirdly, you will need a doctor’s go-ahead before trying any of these practices. With that said, here are ways in which you can reduce or avoid a hard beer belly:
Limiting Your Alcohol Intake
Although many may not want to hear this, the fact remains that alcohol is a primary contributor to your belly fat. So, you will have to limit how much you consume. An average beer tends to contain around 150 calories (7). Let us face it. You will most likely have more than one beer.
Drinking too much alcohol leads to a belly bulge due to excess calories, especially if you are not physically active. Similarly, the alcohol hinders the fat-burning process since your liver gives more priority to processing the alcohol (7).
It also causes weight gain, which many might notice after a few weeks. However, others might notice the weight changes a bit later (6). All these factors only explain why you get a hanging stomach after drinking alcohol. Now, we are not telling you to cut out alcohol. Instead, we are only stating that moderation is key when it comes to alcohol consumption.
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Whether you like it or not, the truth is that you will have to sweat your belly fat away. However, this does not mean killing yourself with a thousand crunches. You can burn off belly fat by creating a suitable workout plan matching your fitness levels and abilities.
It does not necessarily have to lie in one exercise group. According to Medicine Net, you can reduce your hard beer belly by doing aerobic and cardio exercises and even by lifting weights (2).
It means that simple exercise like walking, jogging, running, or cycling can help you reduce your visceral fat. The secret is creating a feasible plan that allows you to drop pounds safely and steadily as you continue exercising.
You will also get to reduce or avoid the visceral fat buildup by eating healthy. Focus on whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, leafy green veggies, and fruits. Similarly, opt for low-calorie foods instead of sugary, processed, junk, or fast foods (4).
Getting Enough Rest
As discussed earlier, the lack of adequate sleep also contributes to visceral fat buildup. You can curb this buildup by making sure that you get enough rest.
The Bottom Line
A hard beer belly refers to the excessive buildup of visceral fat. It is caused by many factors, including excessive alcohol intake, poor diet, lack of exercise, and poor sleeping patterns. The good news is that you can reduce or avoid a hard beer belly. This is by exercising, drinking alcohol in moderation, eating healthy, and getting enough rest.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Assessing Your Weight (2020, cdc.gov)
- Diet and Weight Loss: Your Best Ways to Beat Belly Fat (2018, medicinenet.com)
- Hard Belly and HIV (2021, webmd.com)
- How do you lose belly fat? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Truth About Beer and Your Belly (2010, webmd.com)
- What to know about alcohol bloating (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about belly bulges (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why is the hip-waist ratio important? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)