The Different Causes Of Belly Fat

Many people are so bothered with the wrong things when it comes to belly fat. And that is why we are writing a post on the different causes of belly fat. And to list other conditions that must be met before exercises to loose belly fat can really work.

We already know that belly fat is very dangerous and can lead to the following diseases:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • type 2 diabetes
  • asthma
  • breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia

Because of the dangers it poses it is important we maintain a strict diet and exercise plan. And it is not just about dieting, it is also about drastic change in lifestyle choices when it comes to our diets. That is why I would recommend you read about the different cheap weight lost diet plan framework that can really help you fight fat.

The medical term for unhealthy fat in the belly is “visceral fat,” which refers to fat surrounding the liver and other organs in your abdomen.

But people just don’t get up one day and start growing fat. It is not something that happens without our participation. There are many unhealthy habits we start keeping that automatically changes how we look.

But so that we effectively burn those extra layers of fat, it is important we put a stop to the bad habits listed below that might be responsible for that belly fat, you can no longer tuck in successfully.

The Different Causes Of Belly Fat

1. Alcohol

Men love alcohol for many reasons. But the one reason that drives more men towards cultivating the habit of alcohol drinking, is because it is the traditional drink of men.

But it is one drink that can make your fight against loosing belly fat a difficult one because it is a known cause of increased stomach fat.

A 2015 report on alcohol consumption and obesity in the journal Current Obesity Reports (1) indicates that drinking excess alcohol causes males to gain weight around their bellies, though study results in females are inconsistent.

I will admit that there are good sides to alcohol. For instance when we drink moderate amounts of liquor, especially as red wine, it may help lower our risk of heart attacks and strokes ( 2).

The problem is when we go overboard with alcohol drinking. Which is due to the fact that high alcohol intake may lead to inflammation, liver disease and other health problems (3).

There is a serious link between alcohol intake and belly fat. In one study it was found that men who drank more than three drinks per day were 80% more likely to have excess belly fat than men who drank less alcohol (4, 5).

“In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat,” says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. (6)

Studies have also shown that alcohol can suppress fat burning, leading to a situation where excess calories from alcohol are partly stored as belly fat — there reason for the term “beer belly” (7)

Causes of belly fat
Photo Credit: Instagram

2. Smoking

Many people are now into the habit of smoking. And many in this group are having more belly fat than they should be packing.

Read: Is Coffee Good For Weight Loss

It was discovered that between smokers and nonsmokers, smokers had more belly and visceral fat than nonsmokers. This is according to a 2012 study published in the journal PloS one. (8)

Professor Naveed Sattar, of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: “One barrier to smoking cessation is the fear of weight gain and whilst smoking lessens weight overall, it tends to push fat more into the central area so waist circumference is preferentially higher.

“So, when smokers put on weight, they will show bigger tummies for same weight gain than non-smokers and this may also be linked to their greater risk for diabetes. (9)

While it is true that your smoking habit can reduce your overall body weight, it also means all that fat would find its way to your stomach. (10)

Smoking is one of the causes of belly fat in men and quitting can really help with a better distribution of fat on our bodies.

“In general, people think that when they stop smoking, they are going to gain weight and their diabetes and insulin resistance are going to get worse, but we didn’t find that,” said principal investigator Theodore C. Friedman, MS, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California. “Our study showed that insulin resistance was basically the same and some of the fat redistribution seemed to be better. Initially fat might have gone into the abdomen, but later, it went back to the thigh, which is more benign.” (11)

3. Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is the age of social media. This is that stage in our human history where we spend part of our sleeping hours surfing the internet and all its treasure troves.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine was able to link weight gain to short sleep duration, which could lead to an excess of belly fat. (12)

Researchers found that persons sleeping less than five hours at night gained more abdominal fat over a five year period, versus those who averaged over six hours per night.

The study concluded that short sleepers showed a 32 percent gain in visceral fat, versus a 13 percent gain among those who slept six or seven hours per night, and a 22 percent increase among those who got at least eight hours of sleep each night. (13)

As one of the causes of belly fat, poor sleep has repeatedly been linked to a higher body mass index (BMI) and weight gain. (14) And in another study found that short sleep duration increased the likelihood of obesity by 89% in children and 55% in adult. And as can be expected, obesity also translate to belly fat. (15)

Not getting enough sleep can also mess with the hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin) in your body which would in turn increase your appetite. And as we already know, increase appetite leads to over eating and fat in general, including belly fat. (16, 17)

4. Not Getting Enough Exercise Or Body Movement

It is a known fact that when we consume more calories than they burn off, then they will put on weight.

One study suggested that inactivity contributes to the regain of belly fat after losing weight.

Researchers were able to discover that people who performed resistance or aerobic exercise for 1 year after losing weight were the ones able to prevent abdominal fat regain, while the opposite was the case for those who did not exercise after loosing weight, allowing a 25–38% increase in belly fat. (18)

In another study carried out by Duke University Medical Center researchers. It was discovered that Physical Inactivity Rapidly Increased Visceral Fat but that exercise can reverse the accumulated fat.

“The results of our investigation show that in sedentary overweight adults who continue to choose a sedentary lifestyle the detrimental effects are worse and more rapid than we previously thought,” said Cris Slentz, Ph.D., who presented the results of the Duke study (on May 28, 2003) during the 50th annual scientific sessions of the American College of Sports Medicine. “We probably should not have been surprised since this simply mirrors the increasingly rapid rise in obesity prevalence seen in the U.S., where presently two out of three adults are overweight or obese.

“On the other hand, participants who exercised at a level equivalent to 17 miles of jogging each week saw significant declines in visceral fat, subcutaneous abdominal fat and total abdominal fat,” Slentz continued. “While this may seem like a lot of exercise our previously sedentary and overweight subjects were quite capable of doing this amount.” (19)

5. Too Much Stress

Stress is one of the most deadly causes of belly fat. And it is powered by the hormone known as cortisol.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands and is known as a “stress hormone” because it helps our body to respond adequately against stress.

But when produced in excess it can lead to weight gain. Making our weight loss fight in the abdominal region a lost battle.

Stress causes over eating and it is particular in how it stores the fat derived. It known that cortisol promotes fat storage in the belly. (20, 21)

In another study from Yale, it was revealed that stress may cause excess abdominal fat in otherwise slender women.

The study suggested that non-overweight women who are vulnerable to the effects of stress are more likely to have excess abdominal fat, and have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

We also found that women with greater abdominal fat had more negative moods and higher levels of life stress,” said Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., lead investigator on the study she conducted while at Yale’s psychology department. “Greater exposure to life stress or psychological vulnerability to stress may explain their enhanced cortisol reactivity. In turn, their cortisol exposure may have led them to accumulate greater abdominal fat.”

“Everyone is exposed to stress, but some people may secrete more cortisol than others, and may secrete cortisol each time they face the same stressor,” Epel adds. “We predicted that reacting to the same stressors consistently by secreting cortisol would be related to greater visceral fat.”. (22)

In another study it was discovered that women with larger waists in proportion to their hips secrete more cortisol when stressed. (23)

6. Genetics

Some people are naturally predispose to become obese. Which also means gaming belly fat. Because at the end of the day, it all boils down to genetics.

Studies are showing us what appears to be the tendency to store fat in the abdomen is partly caused by genetics. (24, 25) It is also important to note that the gene for the receptor that regulates cortisol and the gene that codes for the leptin receptor, which regulates calorie intake and weight are all tied down to genetics. (26)

“Genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger,” says Scott Kahan, MD, co-director of the George Washington University Weight Management Program in Washington, D.C., in an email. “Even as we continue to educate people about obesity, healthy eating, physical activity, etc., ultimately we’re not going to get very far until we address the root cause of obesity/weight gain in our population.”

“We have a genetic makeup that evolved over millions of years to be effective for thriving as hunter-gatherers (i.e. having minimal food availability, having to search/hunt for food regularly, having regular famines and food scarcity) but we now live in an environment that is very different from what our genes have evolved to do,” he says.

“We no longer have to hunt out food, food is incredibly available and dirt cheap, food is now ‘engineered’ to pack an incredible density of calories, famines are now essentially nonexistent in our population, and most of us have to spend our days glued to a chair in order to satisfy job requirements and get our paycheck,” he says. “This disconnect is at the root of the obesity epidemic [and] in addition to teaching people about healthy behaviors and such, we need to address the environment and, if possible, our genetic makeup.” (27)

7. Low Protein Diets

More than one major observational studies have suggested that people who consume the highest amount of protein are the least likely to have excess belly fat. (28, 29)

Other research studies have shown that proteins can reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day, and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day (30, 31, 32).

As one study has shown protein is particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat. According to the study people who ate more and better protein had much less abdominal fat 

While another research indicated that protein was linked to a significantly reduced chance of abdominal fat gain over 5 years in women ( 33, 34).

We shall be updating this post on the different causes of belly fat. So always check back.



Disclaimer: This website is not for emergency use, clinical diagnosis, or treatment. This service is not intended to replace a physical physician consultation but to provide additional information. If you have an emergency, please call your emergency services and get prompt treatment.

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