If you drink beer you’ll get fat, right? Wrong!
In the past six months I am healthier than ever and have dropped almost 2 inches around my waistline. I’ll be honest I was never seen as overweight but now that I look back at older photos I do notice excess baggage that didn’t need to be there. The best thing of all is that I am drinking just as much beer as I was before, but to negate the effects of beer I am now exercising 4 days a week for about 45 minutes a day. I was my own worst enemy for being lazy, it was not beers fault.
Unfortunately far too many Australian’s try to find excuses for why they are unhealthy or overweight. It is a very simple equation that was shared with me at a very young age. “Less food, more movement”. It’s one of the few times that less is not more. Excuses I’ve heard at the gym include:
The last one is my favourite, no one is looking at you, they’re all drooling over the better looking people in the gym wishing it was them. All have the same undertone though, you’re finding excuses instead of doing a little bit to help yourself.
Living a healthy lifestyle has not changed since beer was first consumed and whilst I have no doubt you’ll find there were a few overweight Mesopotamians back in 5000 BC you will find that they were in the minority due to their active lifestyles. What has changed is modern man/woman is more likely to sit on the lounge watching the footy eating a pack of hot chips with their beer instead of working hard in the field planting crops.
Despite the millions of dollars people pour into the health industry on vitamins, supplements and miracle cures the only thing that can improve your weight (and overall health) is exercise. No matter if you avoid beer or drink a thousand beers if you’re not moving, you’re not burning enough calories and therefore you’ll never lose weight. The equation is simple, stop falling for all the BS marketing such as low-carb beer and must have “health shakes” – you’re wasting your money if you think you can down a protein shake and lose weight! There is good news though, especially if you’re partial to a beer or two.
There are a number of important facts about food you must know if you want to be an elite athlete, however for the majority of us we should just focus on fat and carbohydrates. I’ve lumped sugars under carbohydrates for simplicity because at their core they fundamentally are a carb. Anything that is high in sugar (“carbs”) consumed in high quantities is bad for you. If you consume too much fruit, which is high in natural sugar, it will make you overweight. Beer is no different – if you drink a lot of beer you’ll become overweight unless you take action to correct the imbalance; either through reduced consumption or increased exercise. The average person needs between 7,000 to 10,000 kilojoules to maintain their body weight depending on their size, sex and weight. Consume fewer kilojoules and you will generally lose weight, consume more and that excess energy is stored by the body as fat.
The myth of the beer belly is no different to that of “cake belly” or “pie gut” as a few of my friends say. If you consume too much of a good thing you’ll store the excess as fat. Here is some maths to help demonstrate this point.
The energy value of alcohol is 29 kilojoules per gram of alcohol. For reference, in Australia, a standard drink is 10 grams of alcohol. Using the following rough calculation you can determine the amount of kilojoules in a beer.
Serving size * ABV = grams of alcohol (Multiple this by 29 and you have the number of kilojoules in that particular beer as an estimate)
Example: 355 ml serving and 4.5% ABV 355 * 0.045 = 15.975g alcohol
This would mean if you drank one of these beers you would have consumed roughly 463 kilojoules of energy. The real issue here is that when we drink our beer we are typically indulging in other high energy foods such as potato chips, pies and the like whilst sitting on our behinds. So when you drink those 3 or 4 beers alone you have already consumed about 1/8th of your total energy consumption for the day. Combine this with the food you’ve already eaten that day and you will find that you will explode out the top of the recommended 7,000 to 10,000 kilojoules for your daily limit. Remember, to lose weight you need to burn more energy than you consume. Depending on what you eat, each meal will be around 2,500 kilojoules so keep this in mind when drinking.
Exercise does not have to be scary or bad. Just running around in the back yard throwing a ball to your dog or having a kick with your kid is exercise. You just need to move for about an hour a day and you’ll be okay if you eat good enough.
You don’t have to be running marathons, but please don’t blame beer.
Beer Guide to Australia is a community dedicated to the sharing of opinions on beers available on the Australian market, whilst promoting beer education, appreciation and sharing our beer and food matching advice.