The beer belly myth

English study finds higher 'waist-hip' ration not linked to beer drinking

Sept 29, 2003 - Research by the University of London indicates that the beer belly is misnamed, because that distinctive bulge isn't caused by beer. Further, the study found that women who drink beer tend to weigh less.


A research team led by Martin Bobak used data based in the Czech Republic, which boasts of the highest per capita beer consumption in the world. The data included 891 men and 1,098 women aged 25-64 who were either non-drinkers or drank exclusively beer and compared their body mass index (a measure of overweight) and waist-hip ratio, which measures beer belly.

The researchers found that when corrected for factors such as smoking, there was no significant link between beer drinking and a beer belly — and women who drank beer tended to weigh less, rather than more, than those who did not.

"It is unlikely that beer intake is associated with a largely increased waist-hip ratio or body mass index," the researches wrote in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. "The association between beer and obesity, if it exists, is probably weak."

Boback said beer may not be the real culprit in a beer belly but beer drinking is linked to other aspects of diet and lifestyle that may cause a beer belly.

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