5 Types of Belly Fat and What Causes Them

Types of Belly Fat

A flat stomach is a dream for many of us and the advice we commonly get is to follow a balanced diet, exclude sweets and do abdominal exercises, but unfortunately despite the effort, they are not always effective.

Causes for belly fat are different and there is no one-size-fits-all method to get rid of it. Therefore, you should first determine the type of belly fat, and then choose ways to fight it.

Types of Belly Fat Tissues

There are 2 main types of fat tissue found in our belly.


This is the layer of fat that sits just under the skin, the one visible and “jiggly” to touch. Subcutaneous fat is considered to be a normal and safe type of tissue, not associated with any kind of disease.


This type of fat is the most dangerous one for health.

It is not only deposited on the internal organs and squeezes the stomach forward, but also disrupts metabolism – in particular, it affects hormonal levels, and is also associated with several chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, coronary disease and so on.

However, the good news is that it is much easier to remove internal belly fat than subcutaneous fat. Getting rid of visceral fat requires regular exercise and proper nutrition.

What are the types of belly fat by cause?

1. Stress Belly Fat Type

Types of Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

In today’s hectic world, it’s hard to avoid physical or psychological stress in everyday life.

When you are under constant stress, the production of the stress hormone – cortisol, goes on continuously.

It keeps you alert 24 hours a day. Poor sleep, a feeling of persistent fatigue (even after rest), lethargy, anxiety, dry skin – all these indicate a change in the level of cortisol in your blood.

Besides dealing with stress, excess cortisol is also capable of causing the accumulation of extra fat in the belly.

Also, we all know how stress can make us crave snacks and sweets more often than usual.

Stress-caused belly fat is quite simple to identify by appearance; it’s characterized by a hard bulge in the upper part of the belly and a relatively flat lower abdomen.


  • Try to avoid stress as much as possible and focus on your well-being!
  • Get enough sleep – sleep deprivation can alter your metabolism and raise cortisol levels, so getting proper rest and about 8 hours of sleep can aid in slimming down stress-induced belly fat.
  • Exercise or meditate to deal with stress
  • Restore Magnesium – excess cortisol synthesis depletes the body of this essential mineral. Leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocados, etc are great sources of magnesium.

2. Mommy Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

Right after giving birth for obvious reasons females tend to be left with a little tummy fat, also referred to as the mommy fat, which is not so easy to get rid of and can be quite nerve-wracking for new mothers.

Besides the post-pregnancy belly caused by the accumulation of fat, there is also an exacerbated condition known as diastasis recti or as people call it – the mommy pooch- it’s when abdominal muscles dilate during the time of pregnancy and have difficulty going back to their original state.

Tips: It’s possible to achieve a pre-maternity body with the help of a balanced diet and daily light targeted postpartum abdominal exercises, like plank, crunches, leg raises, etc.

Diet-wise it’s recommended to exclude an excessive amount of sweet, starchy foods, sweet soda, baked goods, white bread from the daily menu.

These foods are composed of fast-digesting carbohydrates and contain a lot of calories per 100 g of food.

As a result, a woman does not eat enough essential nutrients although receives an excess of calories and carbs, which leads to the accumulation of extra inches at the waist.

It’s important to be patient with the results, especially in the case of breastfeeding mothers, the baby’s health should be considered, as it receives nutrients from its mother.

With the help of proper nutrition and light exercises, you can remove a sagging belly and sides without risking the health of the baby.

3. Hormonal Belly Fat Type

Types of Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

This type of belly is identified by having a lower belly bulge. Hormonal imbalances change the way the body stores and distribute fat.

In general, women are much more susceptible to developing hormonal belly since it’s mostly associated with altered estrogen levels in the body, as females’ age level of estrogen tends to decline and accordingly fat distribution switches from hourglass shape of the body to “apple shape” with more fat stored in the belly.

Although I am a doctor, I’m not your doctor so it’s best to visit a physician for a consultation to check your lab work and analyze the real cause behind your hormonal issues.


Consume more Lean protein to “nourish the muscles”

Eating more fiber-rich foods like vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits activates digestion.

Avoid simple carbohydrates

Perform light exercises like yoga, pilates or meditation

4. Bloated Belly Fat Type

Types of Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

Bloating is experienced when there is too much gas in the stomach and has mostly to do with the types of meals you consume.

Including too many foods like beans, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage sweet potatoes, etc in your daily diet can be the cause of air-accumulation in your belly, since these vegetables contain a sugar called – raffinose, which remains undigested until fermented by a gas-producing bacteria in the gut, making belly bloated, resulting in an uncomfortable feeling.


  • Taking probiotics and drinking enough fluids will help solve this problem.
  • It is also worth taking time for walking and not forgetting about proper nutrition.
  • Although they are extremely healthy and have numerous benefits for our body, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale can be the cause of bloating and it’s best to avoid them for some time.
  • Eat less wheat flour baked goods.
  • Plank and push-ups from the floor will also be effective.

5. Lower Belly Fat Type

Types of Belly Fat

Types of Belly Fat

The cause of fatty deposits in the lower abdomen is a sedentary lifestyle, digestive problems, unhealthy diet. Extra attention should be drawn to the alcohol, it is a fat bomb for your belly.

You might have heard of “beer belly”, not only alcohol contains too many calories, carbs, it increases appetite and the liver switches from burning fats to burning alcohol instead, which accelerates fat storage in the belly region.


  • First of all, review your diet and remove soda, alcohol, sugar and refined flour products from it. Eat more vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoid alcohol at all costs
  • Cut down on calories, calorie-deficit diets can burn a significant amount of fat.
  • Eat more lean proteins to bulk up your muscle mass and feel full longer
  • From the physical activity, yoga is suitable for you, as well as ordinary walks and just active pastimes.
  • Don’t ditch healthy fats like those found in avocados and nuts. They can help you lose weight significantly!

After following all these recommendations the results show up pretty quickly – within a few days or maybe a few weeks, depending on one’s body type and metabolic profile.

See Also

Foods that Burn Belly Fat

3 Day Cleanse to Lose Belly Fat

7 Day Cabbage Soup Diet Plan

Low Cholesterol Meal Plan with Grocery List

21 Day Sugar Detox Meal Plan

500 Calorie Meal Plan

Cabbage Soup Diet Plan