Why Do Men Have Beer Belly?
Age makes us fat. If we look at a still standing fat person from behind, we readily conclude that he or she is aged and if that person is slim, we think that he or she is young. This is the relation between age and fat. One more factor included in the fat deposition is interesting and it is gender. And this relation is not related to increase of fat but is related to distribution of fat. In men, the fat is deposited in the abdominal region, causing beer belly, while in women, it is accumulated around the pelvic region. Yes, it is interesting to know that male and female fat cells do behave differently.
Amount and Distribution of Fat in Men and Women
In general, women are fattier than men. A healthy woman of 25 years of age has almost double fat in her body than a healthy man of the same age. This difference occurs right from the age of eight. From this age, girls start getting fat accumulated at a higher rate than boys. Seemingly this happens because of the lower rate of basal fat oxidation in girls. It results not in the increase in number of fat cells but the size of fat cells till the age of adolescence. During adolescence, however, female fat cells grow in number too and are marked by their accumulation in buttocks, pelvis and thighs. After adolescence the growth in fat cells in females drops down significantly and almost stops. This is seen in males too.
Female Pelvic Fat Cells Healthy, Male Belly Fat Cells Unhealthy
This site-specific accumulation is because of the female sex hormone estrogen. And it has physiological advantages, particularly during lactation when these fat cells act as energy storages. On the contrary males have their fat deposited around their waistline and it creates serious health hazards like heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even increased mortality.
Researchers have found out that female fat tissues behave altogether differently than those of males till females become menopausal. As soon as women attain menopause the hormone levels from their ovaries drop down and the fat accumulated in the backside of their body shifts towards their stomach! One more interesting fact is the fat accumulated in pre-menopausal women around the pelvic area and thighs is subcutaneous and is outside muscle walls while the belly fat in men and menopausal ladies is accumulated surrounding the internal organs and is a chief health hazard.
Findings of Studies
To find out why this happens, an interesting study was conducted on male and female rats whose fat distribution pattern is same as that of humans. Male rats, female rats with ovaries and female rats with ovaries removed (a condition closely resembling menopausal women) were included in the study. There were genetic differences in the fat tissues of animals of both the sexes. All the mice were given fat-rich diet for 12 weeks after which it was found that males and females without ovaries have their fat cells, especially belly fat, inflamed. Females with ovaries, however, had less amount of genes linked with inflammation and they gained less weight despite being on the same diet for same period. The inflamed fat of male mice and female mice without ovaries was found to be looking similar and unhealthy. And when these mice were given estrogen replacement treatment the inflammation was reduced and the fat distribution too was restored to normal like that in the mice with ovaries.
Get Rid of Your Belly Fat at the Earliest
Thus it should be understood that persons with a fat belly, normally called beer belly, should be cautious of their fat accumulation and should take measures to reduce their belly fat with proper diet and exercise regime. A flat belly is not only lovelier, but also healthier than a fat belly!