Does Beer Make You Fat?

Beer is an alcoholic drink made from fermented cereal malt , then traditionally flavored with hops .


There are many types of beers, different in color, flavor , alcohol content and production method. Many wonder if beer makes you fat. Since this is a “non-food” that provides only ” empty calories ” (later we will understand better what this means), the answer should be positive. In fact, there are all the necessary prerequisites to define this alcoholic drink as a fattening (although it is not the only one). Numerous beverages such as wine (based on fermented grapes ), cider (based on fermented apples ), mead (based on honey ) share, at least in part, the same characteristics as beer.fermented) etc. They are also more fattening produced spirits such as spirits ( brandy , whiskey , rum , vodka , gin , etc.) and liqueurs (the bitter herbs , fruit liqueurs, creams superalcoliche etc.).

Let’s go into more detail.

Nutritional Properties

General composition of beer

The most important chemical-nutritional characteristic of beer is that it is a solution of water and ethyl alcohol , in which mainly malto dextrins and some mineral salts are diluted .

Since it is an alcoholic drink (the concentration in ethyl alcohol fluctuates, roughly, from 3 to over 10%) its consumption has very significant psychological and physiological effects. In fact, the various concentrations of alcohol in the human body have measurable and variable repercussions.

Beer contains phenolic acids, including 4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, vanillic acid, caffeic acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid and synapic acid. Experiments based on alkaline hydrolysis show that most phenolic acids are present as bound forms; only a small part of them can be detected in the form of free compounds.

Characteristics of hops

Hops, and therefore also beer, contain 8-prenylnaringenin, a powerful phytoestrogen . Also present are: myrcene, humulene, xanthumol, isoxanthumol, myrcenol, linalool , tannins, resins and 2M2B alcohol (tert-amyl alcohol ).

Characteristics of barley malt

Barley, in the form of malt, contains condensed tannins , prodelfinidins (proanthocyanidins) B3, B9 and C2.

Tryptopol, tyrosol and phenylethanol are higher aromatic alcohols found in beer as by-products of alcoholic fermentation (congeners) of Saccharomyces cerevisiae .

Nutritional composition of beer

Below is a small table that summarizes the main chemical characteristics of a normal lager.

Nutritional Factors Quantity
water 93.5 g
Proteins 0.2 g
Lipids TOT 0.0 g
Carbohydrates 3.5 g
Ethyl alcohol 2.8 g
Food Fiber 0.0 g
Power 34.0 kcal
Sodium 10.0 mg
Potassium 35.0 mg
Iron 0.0 mg
Football 1.0 mg
Phosphorus 28.0 mg
Thiamine (Vit B1) 0.0 mg
Riboflavin (Vit B2) 0.03 mg
Niacin ( Vit PP ) 0.90 mg
Vitamin A (RAE – Retinol Equivalents) 0.0 µg
Vitamin C ( Ascorbic Acid ) 1.0 mg
Vitamin E (Tocopherols) 0.0 mg

Effect on Weight

How fat is drinking beer?

Does beer make you fat? Everything suggests yes, although as always this depends on the role it plays in nutrition.

Basically, beer is a useless drink. This means that it has a chemical-nutritional content that is not essential and not even useful for human health. Far from it; as we will see below, excessive amounts of beer can lead to severe psychiatric and metabolic diseases. It is also true that one or two alcoholic units of light beer (330-660 ml) per day are considered within the safe range; however, statistically speaking, it seems that moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a good life expectancy; attention, however, a statistical correlation can have a thousand different meanings and mislead from the real mechanism of the process analyzed.

Having established that beer is not a necessary drink, let’s now turn to its role in increasing adipose tissue ; ergo, get fat. Beer consumed in excess (it means exceeding the recommended portion or the caloric excess compared to normocaloric energy), can make you fat due to various factors:

  1. Conversion of ethyl alcohol into fatty acids, then into triglycerides to be stored in the liver (see also Diet and Hepatic Steatosis – Fatty Liver ) and in adipose tissue, with particular interest in the visceral tissue
  2. Hyperstimulation of insulinresulting in hyperinsulinemia . In moderate doses, alcohol intake with increased insulin simply causes a slight decrease in blood sugar . On the other hand, if the quantity is abundant and hyperinsulinemia occurs in conjunction with meals, nutritional metabolism is impaired . Insulin has an anabolic function that affects adipose tissue in sedentary people with poor peripheral muscle sensitivity . This means that it stimulates the production of fats, in addition to alcohol, also starting from carbohydrates and amino acids , and favors their deposit inside theadipocytes
  3. Food disinhibition. Drinking a beer does not only have a mild aperitiffunction ; in people with a subjective tendency to eat more than normal, drinking beer reduces inhibitions and increases the chances of having inappropriate eating habits.

Is it possible to remedy after drinking one beer too many? No. The transgression of one beer too many cannot (and should not) be USUALLY compensated for by greater physical activity or by reducing food in the diet. Considering that ethyl alcohol is transformed into fat, one would think that it is sufficient to eliminate a part of the fat in the diet. It is not so. Those of beer are in fact empty calories , which do not contribute to increasing the supply of useful nutrients , unlike seasoning fats such as extra virgin olive oil rich in vitamins , antioxidants and fatty acidsgood for health. A problem also arises if you want to increase motor activity , which in itself would also increase appetite and therefore the tendency to transgress further.

In conclusion, if one too many beer “escapes” during a weight loss diet, do not try to remedy awkwardly by restructuring the diet; you would aggravate the situation.


Other Effects

Psychological effects of beer

The psychotropic effects of beer depend on the quantity of drink consumed, the percentage of alcohol contained in it, the time elapsed since consumption, the possible consumption of food, drugs and drugs.

This article is not focused on the psychotropic effects of alcohol contained in beer but, taking the opportunity to promote correct information, below we will report a small summary table on the effects of alcohol.

BCA – Blood Alcohol Conce ntration Effects
0.03% -0.12% general improvement in mood and possible euphoria , increased self-confidence and sociability, decreased anxiety , redness, flushed appearance of the face, impaired judgment and good muscle coordination
0.09% -0.25% lethargy , sedation, balance problems and blurred vision
0.18% -0.30% profound confusion , speech impairment, staggering, dizziness and vomiting
0.25% -0.40% “stupor”, unconsciousness , anterograde amnesia, vomiting (death can occur due to inhalation of vomit – lung aspiration – while unconscious) and respiratory depression (potentially fatal)
0.35% -0.80% coma (unconsciousness), life-threatening respiratory depression and possibly fatal alcoholic intoxication

Useful Tips

High percentages of alcohol in the blood have very serious effects; these, which can also be measured indirectly with less accuracy through a breath test , can only be assessed with certainty through blood analysis. Unfortunately, it is not possible to establish with how much beer a certain alcohol level is reached . For the reasons described above, the impact varies greatly by circumstance. It is therefore recommended to be very careful during consumption and above all it is not recommended before driving.

Diuretic effect of beer

Beer is a powerful diuretic. This effect is based on three different mechanisms:

  • Wealth of water: as we know, water is the diuretic nutritional factor par excellence. Once absorbed, to maintain the same volume, the kidneys excrete the excess with diuresis
  • Ethyl alcohol content: alcohol increases renal excretion of magnesium, causing a rapid and vigorous increase in urinary excretion of magnesium and other electrolytes such as sodium and potassium
  • Presence of hops: it is also a diuretic.

Health impact of beer

We have said that beer is diuretic and that, if in excess, it makes you fat; in addition, alcohol can have short-term repercussions on the central nervous system . What has not yet been mentioned is the long-term effects of beer consumption.

Consumption of small amounts of alcohol per day (less than one alcohol unit – 330ml of beer – in women and two – 660ml – in men) is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus . HOWEVER, no professional medical association advises, in the absence of a pre-existing habit, to start consuming small quantities of alcohol (among which, however, the most recommended is not beer but red wine ).

The long-term effects of moderate or frankly excessive beer consumption include: risk of developing alcoholism ( ethyl alcohol addiction ), alcoholic liver disease , and generalized malnutrition .

Alcoholism or alcoholism is an umbrella term for ANY level of alcohol consumption that leads to psychological or physical problems. In medicine, the diagnosis of alcoholism is positive when two or more of the following conditions are present:

  • Drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time
  • Difficulty in reducing consumption
  • Buying and consuming alcohol takes a long time in the day
  • There is a strong desire for alcohol
  • Consumption leads to failure to fulfill basic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)
  • Social issues
  • Health problems
  • Potentially risky situations
  • High tolerance to the severe effects of alcohol
  • Worsening of psychological and emotional balance in abstinence.

Alcoholism shortens a person’s life expectancy by about ten years, and alcohol use is the third leading cause of premature death in the United States. At least 3.3 million deaths (5.9% of all deaths) are believed to be attributable to alcohol consumption each year.


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