Will Reducing Calories Reduce Belly Fat?


Excess abdominal fat coats organs and leaves one at a higher risk of developing health conditions such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. However, burning stubborn belly fat is really tough. It is usually the reason for most people’s weight loss programs, with exercise and dietary changes accounting for the leading components of the process. If you take either, or both, of these paths, you must have heard of the term “calories”.

What does the term calories mean? How does it affect your weight management? Is it relevant towards reducing belly fat? We will examine the relationship between calorie intake and abdominal fat.

Before discussing how these things affect each other, we must examine them separately. Understanding them in isolation will make it easier for us to identify their relationship or correlation.

What is a calorie?

calorie is a measurement that ascertains how much energy is released whenever your body digests and absorbs food. Every type/class of food provides you with a specified amount of energy. As you eat, your body breaks down the food and absorbs the energy it produces into your body. These calories are used to power physical activities, blood circulation and respiration.

When you eat two or three times daily, your body requires energy more frequently. Your digestive system stores calories in the form of fat to use at a later point.

Does reducing calories help reduce belly fat?

The problem is that calories do not work exactly as people assume. We often mistake meals that make you “feel full” for energy-giving food. Here is an example: meat, fish, and similar fatty protein foods contain about 9 calories per gram. On the other hand, potatoes and other carbohydrate foods contain about 4 calories per gram. This suggests you would need to eat 2 grams of potatoes to get the same energy as eating 1 gram of meat.

Well, this is not how it works. Proteins and carbohydrates have the same amount of calories whilst proteins make you feel full faster, so if you are looking to cut down on calories then look to increase sources of proteins in your diet. This is to ensure that you are still leading a healthy dietary lifestyle whilst cutting calories . But carbohydrates do not make you feel as full, so you are more inclined to eat more in order to feel satisfied. While we categorise fat together, there are different types of fats. In order to not bore you with the technical terms, let us group them as healthy and unhealthy fats. Remember that your body stores the excess amount of energy as fat? Well, the food type determines the fat that will be formed. People avoid fatty foods like meat, fish, eggs, etc, but what they need to understand is that good fats offer many health benefits. People tend to use refined carbohydrates like sugar or sweeteners to maintain the taste of food, and end up with trans fat which is unhealthy.

So, where is the excess fat stored? It is stored under the skin, on the liver and on other organs. While the skin covers your entire body, the liver and other organs are situated in your abdomen. This explains the cause of stubborn belly fat. The reason is that you are required to burn fat stored under the skin as well as fat stored on your liver or internal organs.

Now that we understand how excessive calories lead to body fat, let us examine possible ways to reduce belly fat. Since calories are responsible for the build-up of belly fat, perhaps you can alleviate the problem by reducing your calorie intake. While this is efficient, you must do it correctly to ensure weight loss. So, reducing your calorie intake can help you lose weight.

One way to do it is by cutting down on high-calorie foods with low nutritional value. As such, you should only eat meals that are rich in nutrients. This way, your body will store healthy fats.

Below are some high-calorie foods with low nutritional value:

  • Ice cream: over 290 calories per cup
  • Flavoured beverages: over 130 calories per cup
  • Fizzy drinks: over 100 calories per cup

These items listed above do not have a significant nutritional value. As such, there will be no nutrients in whatever calories absorbed. This will lead to the build-up of unhealthy fats in your body.

Instead of ice cream and unhealthy meals, take the following:

  • Fresh fruit juice: 136 calories per cup
  • Sparkling water: Zero calories per cup
  • Boiled eggs: 211 calories per cup

Note: eating more of these foods means ingesting more calories.

  1. Another way to reduce your calorie intake is by eating smaller portions. There are two ways to do this. One way to do this is by eating from a plate instead of a packet. A sense of measurement comes from seeing food on a plate. You tend to lose track of an item’s actual size when it is inside a package. This causes you to overeat and ingest more calories than necessary

Another way to reduce your food portion is by taking less food than you feel is enough for you. It does not have to be much. You can start by making your servings one or two spoons less. This can help you reduce the quantity of meals you eat. If you still feel genuinely hungry after finishing the first portion, then you can go for another serving. 

Other ways that can help reduce belly fat

Besides healthy eating, there are other ways to lose belly fat. One of them is by managing your stress levels. You are probably wondering how stress causes weight gain. 

When stressed, your body releases cortisol - a hormone that slows down your metabolism. The process is crucial for survival as that is how your body regulates the additional pressure. It also causes the stimulation of fat and carbohydrate metabolism to increase energy production. One major drawback is that you begin to crave sweet, fatty and salty foods.

In addition to you craving food containing unhealthy fats, cortisol also reduces the production of testosterone. This, in turn, leads to muscle mass decline. Combine muscle decline with the accumulation of unhealthy food. It is no rocket science that you’ll gain weight.

Another way to reduce abdominal fat is by developing a healthy sleeping routine. Studies show that poor sleep can increase your appetite. Just like stress, lack of sleep increases your desire for foods that are unhealthy, and high in carbohydrates, sugar and fats.

How long does it take to reduce belly fat?

It depends on the individual's body type and the amount of abdominal fat that has been accumulated. However, the average time to expect results is 3-4 weeks. If you do not notice significant changes within this period, you may need to further cut down on your calorie intake or increase weight training.


The relationship between calories and belly fat is often misconceived. Most people tend to think that lower calories mean less body fat. There is more to reducing abdominal fat than just eating fewer or less fatty meals. The process requires a better understanding of calorie intake and dedication to improving health.


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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ochuko Atenaga

Second Class Upper Division, Psychology, University of Port Harcourt

My name is Ochuko, and I am a seasoned web content writer who simplifies the most complex ideas. For half a decade, I have written content on Blockchain, NFTs, Digital Marketing, eCommerce Development, G Health, Technology, Lifestyle, Tourism, Hospitality, and gambling. During this period, he has worked with top brands like Clario, CryptoGames3D, Amazix, AIKON, Progos Tech, Webzool, Zenith Chain, Jungle NFT Marketplace etc.

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