It's not the beer, but your genes, that cause that 'not so loved' 'beer belly', according to British scientists.
In a study of thousands of beer drinkers, it was discovered that although regular drinkers had a tendency to put on weight, they did not necessarily store fat around the abdomen.
AdvertisementFor the study, the researchers examined over 20,000 people - 7876 men and 12,749 women - over an average of eight-and-a-half years.
It was found that men, who were classed as the heaviest drinkers-regularly consuming two pints of beer a day- put on the most weight.
However, after measuring hip-to-waist ratios, in order to establish which drinkers developed a potbelly, the researchers found that the results were spread across all drinkers.
The scientists concluded that genetic factors had a larger role in controlling how people put on weight than drinking beer.
The results revealed that the men who were most likely to put on weight were those who drank the most and also those who drank no beer at all.
Light drinkers saw the least variation in their waist size.
For women, drinking more beer was more directly associated with piling on the pounds.
But for all the categories, drinking beer led to overall weight gain on both the waist and the hips, and did not necessarily lead to a beer belly.
"This analysis showed the empirical basis for the common belief of a beer belly, as we found that beer drinking and waist circumference were positively associated," the Courier Mail quoted the study as saying.
"However, our data provided only limited evidence for a site-specific effect of beer drinking on waist circumference and beer consumption seems to be rather associated with an increase in overall body fatness.
"In terms of public health relevance, it may be therefore important to focus on beer abstention to maintain body weight.
"In terms of the beer belly belief, an explanation could be that all the observed beer bellies in the population result from the natural variation in fat patterning and not from the fact of drinking beer," it added.
The study by German and Swedish researchers has been published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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