Alcohol consumption can affect weight and fat distribution. Moderate alcohol consumption may be healthy, but excessive and regular consumption might cause belly fat. Alcohol affects abdominal fat in numerous ways:
Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Alcohol adds calories to your diet. Excess calories, especially from alcohol, can cause weight gain and belly fat.
Alcohol affects metabolism, changing how the body processes and stores nutrients. Alcohol may impair fat burning, causing abdominal fat accumulation.
Alcohol metabolism is centered on the liver. The liver briefly switches from fat burning to alcohol metabolism. This change may reduce fat-burning and cause abdominal fat buildup.
Alcohol affects hormone balance, including cortisol and insulin release. Abdominal obesity is connected to high cortisol and insulin resistance.
Genetics may affect alcohol metabolism and response. Alcohol may make some people more likely to gain weight, especially belly fat.
Regular beer drinkers often develop "beer belly" abdominal fat. The word may oversimplify the link, but drinks high in calories and sugars, like beer, can cause weight gain.
Moderate alcohol use may not have the same negative effects as heavy drinking. One drink per day for women and two for men is considered moderate drinking.