man measuring belly

Bloated vs. Fat: Which One Am I?

It is normal to feel bloated from time to time – especially after a big meal. It can cause your belly to feel swollen and your pants to feel tight, which can be easily confused with belly fat. But, bloat and belly fat are not the same thing and both need to be treated differently.

RELATED: Defining the Difference Between Overweight and Obese

What is Bloat?

Stomach bloating occurs when your belly becomes enlarged with fluid or gas. Bloat is temporary and is often caused by the foods you eat. Some foods can be harder for your stomach to digest, keeping you full longer.

RELATED: Help Your Digestive System with These 5 Foods

How to Tell the Difference Between Belly Fat and Bloat

One easy way to tell the difference between bloat and belly fat is to note belly fat does not cause your stomach to expand wildly throughout the course of a day; bloat does. One other way to tell the difference between bloat and belly fat is you can physically grasp belly fat with your hand, you cannot with bloat.

Causes of Stomach Bloat

High fiber foods that might cause this are beans, dairy products, and even some fruits and vegetables, such as:

  • Brussels sprout
  • Cabbage
  • Prunes
  • Onions
Did you know certain foods, such as brussels sprouts and beans, can trigger bloating? Click To Tweet

Overeating or eating too fast can also be triggers.

Bloat could also be a sign of greater, underlying conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Lactose intolerance, or even a wheat allergy. Stomach bloat can also be a result of consuming too much salt on a daily basis, causing your stomach to keep excess water.

Remedies for Stomach Bloat

Sometimes a simple diet change might be all you need. Sticking to foods that are high in protein or complex carbohydrates can help. Drink plenty of water and stay away from carbonated drinks. Making your meals last longer can help keep you from overeating so be sure to try eating slower and chewing your food more.

Another remedy is to try, in place of three meals a day, eating more frequent, smaller meals. This prevents the bloating that typically follows large meals.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Bloat

Sometimes bloat can be more than just a full belly. If you experience a lot of pain, or your bloat does not go away quickly, you might want to take a closer look at your symptoms. You should talk to your doctor if you have the following:

A visit to your doctor is also recommended if you have not encountered serious bloating in the past or if the unwelcome bloating poorly affects your daily activities.

What Is Belly Fat?

The primary difference between bloating and fat is unlike bloat, belly fat develops over time and is harder to get rid of. Belly fat happens when you are consuming more calories than you are burning off and can be very unhealthy. Belly fat can increase your risk for:

While a simple diet change helps get rid of bloat, belly fat takes a bit more work. Try for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Following a healthy diet filled with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and lots of water can also help shed those pounds. It is important to remember that everyone gains and loses weight differently, so be sure talk to your doctor about what fits best for you.

RELATED: Can I Get A Flat Stomach from Sit-Ups?

Remedies for Belly Fat

While a simple diet change helps get rid of bloat, belly fat takes a bit more work. Try for at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Following a healthy diet filled with lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and lots of water can also help shed those pounds. It is important to remember that everyone gains and loses weight differently, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what fits best for you.

One of the best ways to help beat belly fat is at least 30 min of exercise every day! Click To Tweet