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. Still, 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 eliminate 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 layer of fat sits just under the skin, the one visible and “jiggly” to touch. Subcutaneous fat is considered a normal and safe type of tissue, not associated with any 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
In today’s hectic world, avoiding physical or psychological stress in everyday life is hard.
When you are under constant stress, the stress hormone cortisol continues.
It keeps you alert 24 hours a day. Poor sleep, persistent fatigue (even after rest), lethargy, anxiety, and dry skin indicate a change in the cortisol level 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
Right after giving birth, for apparent reasons, females tend to be left with a bit of tummy fat, also referred to as 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 fat accumulation, 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, excluding an excessive amount of sweet, starchy foods, sweet soda, baked goods, and white bread from the daily menu is recommended.
These foods are composed of fast-digesting carbohydrates and contain many calories per 100 g of food.
As a result, a woman does not eat enough essential nutrients, although she receives an excess of calories and carbs, which accumulates extra inches at the waist.
Being patient with the results is essential, especially for 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 baby’s health.
3. Hormonal Belly Fat Type
This type of belly is identified by having a lower belly bulge. Hormonal imbalances change the way the body stores and distributes 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 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
Bloating is experienced when there is too much gas in the stomach and it mostly depends on 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
The cause of fatty deposits in the lower abdomen is a sedentary lifestyle, digestive problems, unhealthy diet. Extra attention should be drawn to alcohol. It is a fat bomb for your belly.
You might have heard of “beer belly”, not only alcohol contains too many calories and carbs, it increases appetite and the liver switches from burning fats to burning alcohol instead, which accelerates fat storage in the belly region.
- First, review your diet and remove soda, alcohol, sugar and refined flour products. Eat more vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid alcohol at all costs.
- Cut down on calories; calorie-deficit diets can burn significant 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 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 quickly – within a few days or maybe a few weeks, depending on one’s body type and metabolic profile.
Gvantsa Qvariani is a medical doctor, DTMU graduate, an American MD program based in Georgia. Gvantsa has spent the last 6 years studying and practicing medicine in Georgia and other parts of Europe. She is active in medical researches, scientific conferences, various medical projects and so on. She is specialized in writing medical content based on newest studies from most reliable sources.