Besides the “tall, masculine, and handsome” attraction trait, society is increasingly showing more love to men with a dad bod.
As sexy as the “dad bod” may be, a registered dietician who focusses on metabolic syndrome and chronic diseases, Michelle Zietsman from En Bonne Santé dieticians warns that a dad bod is no sign of good health at all.
“A dad bod seems to be a cultural term for a male body that is slightly muscular, but one that carries extra fat around their abdominal area, signalling the underlying fat that begins to build up around the organs of the belly. This is called visceral fat and is referred to as central obesity,” Zietsman explains.
What is a dad bod?
A dad bod, beer belly or belly fat is not a good sign of health because excess fat distributed around the waist is an independent risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases – a combination of metabolic dysfunctions mainly characterised by insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, etc.
“This alone can increase the risk for chronic disease such as heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, insulin resistance and hypertension,” Zietsman says.
There are different factors of various combinations that contribute to visceral fat. These can include a poor diet, a sedentary lifestyle, genetics, and excess consumption of soft drinks and non-nutrient containing drinks like alcoholic beverages.
‘Lay off the brews, mfethu’
It is presumed by many that the most common cause of a dad bod in males is malt in beers and the rate of consumption thereof. However, Zietsman says, like any other beverage, the frequency and amounts you consume determine the health rating and what you compare it with.
“Beer isn’t a horrible choice when comparing it to tequila, but consuming normal water would be a healthier choice.”
Want to beat the belly fat? Here’s a tip: Cut down on your intake of beer and other alcohol, as well as processed convenience food. Getting in a couple of thousand steps every day also won’t hurt.
“Alcohol is a non-nutrient (provides calories and no other nutritional benefits) and contains 29 kilojoules per gram – indicating that if consumed in excess it will lead to weight gain. In many cases, individuals with excessive alcohol intake also have poor diets and are inactive, and consuming large amounts of beer might be replacing other healthy and nutritious foods, possibly leading to nutrient deficiencies,” she adds.
As sexy as females might deem it to be, having a big belly is a no-go zone as it poses a health risk, exposing men to chronic diseases, as mentioned by Zietsman. But according to Dr Mthembeni Tebelele, who specialises in men’s health, a big belly can also jeopardise a man’s healthy romantic relationship with their partner.
Fat accumulation shadows and embeds the penis to make it look shorter and in turn this affects the man confidence, says Tebelele.
“Abdominal fat accumulates an enzyme called aromatase a lot and that converts more testosterone to oestrogen. That can make men weak during intercourse, in terms of the quality of erection and blunted interest in sexual intercourse,” Tebelele adds.