It’s possible the “beer belly” myth has been busted. A German study shows that your beer gut and your beer drinking may not be related. The bad news is, the beer could be helping you gain weight. The not as bad news is that the weight you’re gaining around your midsection isn’t necessarily from beer.

In 2009, a team of researchers in Germany and a researcher in Sweden published a study that analyzed the waist measurements and beer consumption of nearly 20,000 German, beer-drinking men (THAT is a lot of beer consumption) and women over a period of four years. The study participants were asked to estimate their daily beer intake and were then categorized into different levels of beer consumption from “no beer” to “heavy drinkers.”

A female who was labeled a “moderate drinker” would have consumed about eight ounces of beer in a day and a male who was labeled a “moderate drinker” would have consumed 16 to 32 ounces of beer in a day. The researchers then attempted to correlate each person’s level of consumption with the “sight-specific effect” of their beer belly. What they found is that the study did not “support the common belief of a site-specific effect of beer on the abdomen, the beer belly.” They wrote, however, “beer consumption seems to be rather associated with an increase in overall body fatness,” which isn’t really great news after all.

We’re sure they were trying to help out all of us beer guzzlers by making us feel better about our unsightly, belt-bending bellies, but hearing that even though the beer isn’t making our guts fatter, it is making our bodies fatter isn’t helping us out much.

We might have to have a couple beers to forget about all this bad news.

[via The Guardian]