Men and their beer guts

Those big guts could have big health implications.
Those big guts could have big health implications.

If you've been to the beach this summer, you're sure to have seen those so-called beer bellies.

Doctors say you notice it more with men because of the way they wear their clothes, but it can happen to both sexes and it could be hurting your health more than you realize.

Tom Guaglianone is resigned to his big belly.

"I've lost it and gained it and lost it and gained it," said Guaglianone.

He says it's hard to lose, even though he stopped drinking beer and has already suffered a heart attack.

"All my health issues they say are related to having a big stomach," Guaglianone said.

A good night's sleep can be one of the first things to go if you're fat around the middle.

"Not only do they get the fat in the beer belly, they get it in the inside of the throat and it narrows the passageway for breathing ... and this is a risk for snoring which is a partial obstruction at night and for stopping breathing at night which is known as sleep apnea," said Dr. Jonathan Kass, a Pulmonary Disease Specialist.

Doctors say a gigantic gut, more kindly known as "central or abdominal fat," is also associated with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, higher risk of stroke and an increased risk of dementia.

And that protruding stomach slows your ability to burn calories.
Fat just gets stored.

Men tend to store fat in the stomach, while women are likely to store fat in their hips.

"It's not uncommon for me to see patients who are a little bit heavy and they say the same things all the time, 'Doc I don't eat that much I don't know why I'm so heavy.' It's because their body metabolically is not, if you will, utilizing the fuel as efficiently as somebody else," said cardiologist Dr. Perry Weinstock.

Weinstock says measure your waist to know if you're at risk.
But do it the right way: not too low.

"We want to have it right where the belly button is and at the top right at the angle of the hip. Right about here ... parallel with the floor. So this gentlemen would be right at about 48 inches and anything about 40 would be an area of concern for his doctor." Weinstock said.

For a woman, a waistline over 35 inches is risky.

According to Kass, very few of his patients actually can lose it, "less than 10 percent."

Losing is the hard part because belly fat slows your metabolism and makes you store more fat.

Weinstock says beer gets all the blame for big bellies, but he says any food or drink high in carbohydrates will do the same thing; you could also call it a pasta or sugar belly.