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The Truth About Beer

Beer and the Beer Belly

Despite conventional wisdom, beer is not necessarily the cause of the beer belly.

"Too many calories, of any kind, can result in a beer belly," says Hillary Wright, RD, a nutrition consultant for the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

Beer is fingered as the culprit of the abdominal pouch because it is easy to drink too much.

"Liquid calories are easy to overdo because you don't get a sense of fullness and with the average 12-ounce beer containing 150 calories, it adds up quickly," Wright says.

Further, alcohol makes you hungry and the types of foods typically served with beer promote mindless munching of high-calorie snack foods.

Many people sporting the beer belly don't usually have great diets or get enough exercise, Rimm says.

Wright suggests choosing light beers that contain 64-105 calories if you want to enjoy more beer without excess calories, especially on occasions such as watching the Super Bowl, when most people eat and drink too much. 

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, is director of nutrition for WebMD. Her opinions and conclusions are her own.

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