If you are fond of a few pints of beer at the weekend, you may have noticed that you are starting to carry some extra fat around your gut. Some of us are more prone to this than others, which hardly seems fair, but the older you get, the more likely it is to happen. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to tackle the problem.
Why does beer pile on the pounds?
Just one pint of regular beer contains about 200 calories, so it’s easy to knock up a substantial portion of your daily recommended intake in one drinking session. If you enjoy the delicious taste of malted barley and hops and can’t imagine giving it up, it’s worth exploring low-calorie beer. Many modern varieties taste great!
What are the risks?
Being bigger than you’d like can simply make everyday life more uncomfortable: badly fitting clothes, strained joints, and less energy than you used to have. It can also put you at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and joint pain.
Will exercise help?
In a word, yes! A regular exercise routine, with a mixture of high intensity interval training and weights, will help you get back in trim. Build up the duration and difficulty of your training sessions slowly, to avoid putting excess strain on your system. You should aim for around 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
Modify your diet
Obviously cutting back on drinking will help, but some tweaks to your diet will probably shrink your belly quicker. Swap out sugary desserts for plain yogurt and fruit, and eat fewer highly processed foods, such as pizzas, pies, crisps, and so on. Cutting down portion sizes also helps.
Avoid the temptation to crash diet, as if your body suddenly finds itself starved of calories, survival mode will kick in. This means that your metabolism slows down, making it even harder for you to shift excess fat. Also, your willpower will almost certainly crumble, and this may lead to an unhealthy binge eating habit.
Don’t drink before dinner
Alcohol heightens our senses and lowers our impulse control, which is bad news when it comes to meals and snacking. Even one drink can make food smell more delicious, and lowered inhibitions mean that you are more likely to overeat. If you really enjoy the taste of beer, consider swapping to no or low alcohol versions.
Are alcohol free beers really 100% non-alcoholic?
If you’ve resolved to give up booze, you may have been told at some point to avoid beers labelled as alcohol free, because they still contain small amounts of alcohol. So is this actually true, and should those determined to stay truly sober avoid drinking it?
It is true that beers labelled as alcohol-free do contain small quantities of alcohol. This is because products with up to 0.5% ABV can be labelled as alcohol-free, and they aren’t restricted by licencing laws. It’s a very small amount that isn’t enough to have any effect on your health, and it certainly won’t get you drunk, however many pints you can handle!