The healthy hops habit that blasts fat

You no doubt know that being overweight offers no health benefits. But one major problem is it’s very easy to gain weight and not so easy to lose it, especially that dreaded belly fat.

Sure, changes in diet and exercise patterns help, you probably know that too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your eyes open for that supplement, herb, or compound that can provide a bit of assistance.

While many weight loss supplements are nothing but hype, it turns out, that hops may provide some metabolism-boosting powers…

The flowers of the immature female hops plant (Humulus lupulus L.) have long been used to add flavor and bitterness to beer. It was from there it was discovered that the plant alters its structure, converting from iso-α-acids to a-acids, which provide many health benefits — including blasting belly fat at its core.

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Hops hone in on belly fat

In a clinical trial, researchers recruited 200 participants with an ‘overweight’ body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30. Using hops pellets (the common form used for home brewing), the researchers prepared hops beverages — 11.8 ounces containing 35 mg of the beneficial acids.

The participants were required to drink the beverage daily for a period of 12 weeks, without changing anything else in their lifestyle.

They discovered that visceral fat (aka belly fat) was significantly reduced in those consuming the hops beverage. And the overall body fat ratio in those consuming the beverage was also reduced.

Participants in the hops group lost 1.03 pounds compared to just 0.44 in the placebo group. And they had a slightly lower BMI — all without changing anything else in their diet or lifestyle routine!

Imagine what the results may be if hops were incorporated alongside dietary changes and more exercise. Because this study is just one of many that show the health-promoting habits of hops…

Previous studies revealed that an intake of 48 mg of hops per day reduces visceral fat in prediabetic subjects. And several studies in animals have shown that hops prevent fat accumulation.

Researchers suggest that hops have a direct influence on energy expenditure, increasing thermogenesis in the body, which actually burns fat. And even better, those animal studies have shown it directly blasts belly fat cells into oblivion.

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What about “beer belly?”

The beer belly, according to scientists at the University of London, is a myth. Their research, which appeared in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that moderate beer drinkers are no more prone to developing a belly than anyone else, and blame belly fat on a poor diet and lack of exercise. But to reap hop’s healthier properties, I wouldn’t recommend beer…

Hops can be taken in supplement form but can be bitter. However, there are flavored herbal hops teas on the market, as well as liquid extracts available that could be mixed with your favorite juice.

On top of its anti-obesity effects, it’s also been shown to aid in other important areas of metabolism — blood glucose control, regulation of cholesterol, ability to inhibit cancer cells, the potential to aid those in cancer treatment, supporting liver health nervous system function.

In terms of herbal medicines, hops are not a new discovery. It’s long been used for its potent qualities, which exhibit oestrogenic, sedative, hypnotic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiseptic effects.

With so many known benefits, adding hops to your daily routine can’t hurt, especially if you are trying to lose a little weight.

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  1. Morimoto-Kobayashi Y, et al. Matured hop extract reduces body fat in healthy overweight humans: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel group study. — Nutrition Journal. 2016;15:25.
  2. Obara K, et al. Isohumulones, the bitter component of beer, improve hyperglycemia and decrease body fat in Japanese subjects with prediabetes. — Clin Nutr. 2009;28:278–84.
  3. Abdi F, et al. Protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis: hop (Humulus lupulus L.) for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. — BMJ Open. 2016;6(4):e010734.
  4. Liu M, et al. Pharmacological Profile of Xanthohumol, a Prenylated Flavonoid from Hops (Humulus lupulus). — Molecules. 2015;20(1):754-779.
Jedha Dening

By Jedha Dening

Jedha Dening is a qualified nutritionist (MNutr), researcher, author, freelance writer, and founder of type 2 diabetic nutrition site Diabetes Meal Plans. Her masters thesis on nutrition and inflammation was published and then presented at a national scientific conference. She has millions of words published in the health industry across various print and online publications. Having been in the field for over 15 years, she’s incredibly passionate about delving into the latest research to share the myths and truths surrounding nutrition and health. She believes when armed with the right knowledge, we’re empowered to make informed choices that can truly make a difference.