Revealed, Why Putting On Weight Causes Men To Get ‘Beer Bellies’ And Women To Become Pear-Shaped
- Men’s brains are programmed to send fat directly towards the stomach region
- But too much can cause it to build up around organs – which can be dangerous
- While estrogen causes women to store theirs in either their hips or their legs
Men have long thought their overhanging stomachs were due to their love for beer.
But now exactly why they store all their weight around their belly has been explained – and it’s all to do with the brain.
Their body’s are programmed to send the fat straight to the stomach, according to Dr Zhaoping Li, from the University of California, Los Angeles
While estrogen causes women to store their fat in the hips and legs – causing a pear-shaped figure, he says.
This allows them to have energy deposits saved for when they are pregnant.
For men, their storage method can leave them at risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease they don’t stay active.
But exercising can free up some space to allow them to consume more fat, preventing it from building up around their organs – known as visceral fat.
When accumulating here, it releases chemicals into the bloodstream that disrupt metabolism, blood pressure and clotting.
Dr Li said: ‘When they run out of storage place in the belly, that’s the time the fat starts to accumulate in the liver, pancreas and muscles.’
And this is the same in women – but their extra capacity in their legs and hips gives them a slight form of protection.
However, Dr Li added that this all changes when a women reaches the menopause, with the fat instead going straight to their stomach.
This comes after a study in September found that having a spare tyre is much more dangerous on the heart than previously thought.
Each additional pound inside the abdominal cavity was linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, researchers from Boston University found.
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Previous research in the US of 15,000 people found men who had belly fat but a normal BMI had double the chance of an early death compared to those who were deemed overweight but with a healthy-sized stomach.
And in 2014, University College London scientists found women who go up a size each decade are at 33 per cent greater risk of breast cancer.