How To Lose Upper Belly Fat – Discover 7 Helpful Tips With Health Experts In 2024

Losing fat around your abdomen can be harder than other areas of your body. Here’s how to lose upper belly fat in 7 effective ways in 2024.
how to lose upper belly fat
Exercising daily and eating a balanced diet can reduce fat. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Upper belly fat refers to the fat located above the belly button. Unlike lower belly fat, which is located below the belly button, upper belly fat can make your stomach look swollen, enlarged, or even pregnant. People with excessive upper belly fat tend to have an apple-shaped body type. 

This is mainly due to genetics, age, gender, poor dietary choices, water or sodium retention, overconsumption of calories, and lack of exercise. Other factors, such as smoking, lack of sleep, stress, and hormone levels, may also play a role. 

Luckily, you can address upper belly fat by cleaning up your diet, increasing physical activity levels, and making healthier lifestyle choices. Here’s how to lose upper belly fat in 7 steps. 

7 Ways To Beat Upper Belly Fat

You can beat upper belly fat by:

  1. Decreasing sodium intake.
  2. Limiting alcohol.
  3. Getting regular exercise.
  4. Building core strength.
  5. Supporting your digestive health.
  6. Practicing portion control.
  7. Staying consistent.

7 Best Methods To Get Rid Of Upper Belly Fat

how to lose upper belly fat
There are different methods to get rid of upper belly fat. Photo: candy candy/Shutterstock

Keep in mind that everyone stores fat differently. Some people carry their weight on their hips or legs. Others carry excessive weight in their stomach or abdomen. Therefore, each person may lose weight differently, too. 

These tips can help reduce upper belly fat in most people. However, it’s wise to consult a professional if you are not seeing results independently. 

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Decrease Sodium Intake

In some cases, upper belly fat may be due to water retention caused by consuming too much sodium in your diet. The recommended amount of sodium[1] per day for most adults is 2,300 milligrams or one teaspoon of salt. 

To moderate your sodium intake, limit your consumption of highly processed foods, including fast food, deli meat, frozen meals, and canned foods. Processed foods tend to contain a significant amount of sodium. You can also reduce your sodium by cooking and eating at home. This is a good eating habit to adopt as it allows you to control how much salt goes into your food. 

If you have to use canned foods, such as beans or vegetables, try to rinse them off before eating them. Healthy alternatives to salt include fresh herbs and spices. Be sure to read the nutrition labels of your foods and any spices you use to help keep track of sodium levels. 

Limit Alcohol

You have probably heard of the term beer belly. Alcohol intake can be linked to belly fat.[2] But why does this happen?

Your liver is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, and since alcohol is considered a toxin, it may affect the metabolism of other nutrients, including fat. When our bodies don’t use the glucose and lipids in our system, they are stored as adipose tissue or body fat. This can lead to serious health complications[3] like liver damage and obesity.

Some people choose to do a liver detox to help flush toxins from their bodies. This may also help get rid of upper belly fat or a beer gut

Get Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise can help burn calories and aid in weight loss. Keep in mind that it’s not possible to lose fat only from your belly. When you start to exercise and eat a proper diet, weight loss will come from all over the body – not just one area. 

When considering how to lose stubborn upper belly fat, we can’t forget the importance of variety in our training sessions. For best results, include both cardio and resistance training exercises in your healthy lifestyle. The latest Physical Guidelines for Americans[4] recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week with at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities. 

High-intensity interval training[5] has been shown to help increase resting fat oxidation and insulin sensitivity in just two weeks. While there is no universal definition of HIIT, it is typically characterized by short bursts of intense output followed by times of low-intensity or rest activities. An example of this type of exercise includes sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging for one minute.

Resistance training can also help build lean muscle mass to help you sustain a healthy weight. Lean muscle mass helps support fat loss by increasing your metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories. Examples of this type of exercise include

  • Squats.
  • Chest and shoulder press.
  • Bicep curls.
  • Lunges.
  • Planks.
  • Push-ups and pull-ups. 
  • Dumbbell rows.
  • Lateral raises.
  • Leg extensions.      

Work Your Core

Core exercises can help build ab muscles, targeting upper belly fat. Here are some abdominal exercises you can try:

Russian Twists

Sit on a yoga mat with your knees bent and heels touching the ground. Lean back slightly to engage your abdominal muscles. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell with both of your hands and slowly twist your waist so that the weight touches the ground on each side. 

Boat Pose

Boat post is a yoga exercise. To perform, sit on a yoga mat with your legs extended and your back straight. Lean back, lift your legs off the ground, and extend your arms up to make a V-shape. Engage your upper belly region and hold this position for 10 seconds at a time. 


Start in a push-up position. Lower your forearms to the ground, placing your elbows on the ground bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your whole body straight by squeezing your ab muscles, glutes, and core. Hold this position for 10 seconds at a time. 


Traditional crunches can target your upper abdomen. To perform, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands behind your head and squeeze your core to lift your head off the ground. Keep squeezing your ab muscles as you lower your head back down to the ground.  

Flush It Out

Your digestive system plays an important role in managing upper abdominal weight gain. One study[6] found that visceral fat was closely related to the gut microbiome. 

Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can help support gut health and strengthen your microbiome by promoting regularity and removing free radical toxins.

In addition to adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, make sure you’re eliminating foods that contribute to inflammation[7] and abdominal obesity. Examples may include fast food, soda, processed meats, candy, baked treats, breakfast cereals, canned soups, and boxed foods.  

Practice Portion Control

It’s important to address unhealthy eating habits to avoid excess fat. Many of us eat more calories than we burn, which can lead to upper body fat. 

You can cut calories and support a healthy body weight by practicing portion control. Replace saturated fat with healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds. 

Eat foods that are naturally low in calories, such as fruits, vegetables, organic eggs and poultry, unrefined grains, beans, and legumes, to reduce fat storage. Eating at home is also a good way to control what and how much you eat. 

Stay Consistent 

how to lose upper belly fat
Stay consistent to lose your upper belly fat. Photo: Jung U/Shutterstock

When asked how to lose top belly fat, most healthcare experts will emphasize the importance of consistency in your lifestyle. Be diligent and stay consistent with your workouts and weight loss diet, as sustainable weight loss takes time. It may take some trial and error to figure out how to lose upper stomach fat based on your specific needs and body type.

Keep in mind that some people may lose body fat quicker than others. Don’t let this discourage you. Consider working with a certified fitness trainer or registered dietitian nutritionist for personalized tips on reducing upper belly fat. 

Upper Belly Fat Causes

Here are some possible reasons why you may gain weight in your belly:

  • Eating more calories than you burn.
  • A sedentary lifestyle. 
  • Stress and high cortisol levels. 
  • Water retention and excessive sodium intake.
  • Genetics.
  • Hormone imbalances.
  • Lack of sleep. 

Effective Exercises For Upper Belly Fat Loss

Losing fat in the upper belly area requires consistent physical activity. For best results, use a combination of cardio and weight-bearing exercises. Here are some you can try:

Cardio Exercises

Examples of cardio exercises include running, cycling, jumping rope, jumping jacks, and swimming. You can also walk briskly or perform high-intensity interval training, such as sprinting or cycling hard. 

Strength Training 

For best results, aim to include compound exercises or exercises that work for several muscle groups simultaneously. Examples include squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. These exercises work by stabilizing your core and working on other muscle groups to tone your whole body. 

Pilates And Yoga

Pilates and yoga can help strengthen your core muscles, tone your total body, and promote flexibility. Plus, many pilates moves are performed using your own body weight. 

Yoga works similarly to engage your core. Exercises such as boat poses and upward-facing dogs can tone the upper abdominal area. Pilates and yoga can be done at home, but you might consider taking a class if you are new to these exercises.  

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What Foods To Eat To Lose Upper Belly Fat

A balanced diet is necessary to help burn fat. Focus on eating healthier foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and fewer processed foods. While this list is not comprehensive, here are some foods that may support your efforts to reduce belly fat:

  • Green leafy vegetables.
  • Berries.
  • Avocado.
  • Broccoli.
  • Asparagus.
  • Bell peppers.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • Bananas.
  • Eggs.
  • Chicken breast.
  • Wild-caught salmon.
  • Pineapple.
  • Beans.
  • Unrefined grains.
  • Legumes.
  • Olive oil.
  • Raw nuts.

Eating in a calorie deficit[8] can help reduce fat or weight gain. You’ll need to consume fewer calories than you burn to do this. Choosing foods from the list above can help you keep your calories down, but it’s essential to fuel your body properly by meeting your macronutrient goals. You may also wish to track your calories and reduce the portion size of your current meals. 


If you’re wondering how to get rid of upper belly fat, you’re not alone. A few lifestyle changes are all you need to fight body fat in your upper belly. Your diet plays a crucial role in fat loss. To lose fat, maintain a balanced diet that includes whole foods, lean protein, slow-burning carbohydrates, and healthy fats.

You’ll also need to eat in a calorie deficit, get proper sleep, exercise several times a week, and reduce stress levels. Before implementing drastic measures, seek guidance from your doctor or registered dietitian.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cause of upper belly fat?

Upper belly fat may be caused by a variety of factors, including a sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary choices, genetics, hormones, and lack of sleep. Stress may also play a role.

What is the upper belly fat called?

Fat located in the upper belly region is known as visceral fat. This type of hidden fat is located deep within the abdominal cavity and surrounds your organs.

How do you lose upper belly fat fast?

There is no quick way to lose fat. Staying consistent with a balanced diet and exercise program can help you lose weight over time.

How to lose upper belly fat in 7 days?

Generally, it will take longer than seven days to lose visceral fat. However, eating a healthy diet and exercising daily can reduce body fat and help you reach your goals quickly.


  1. Center (2022). Sodium in Your Diet. [online] U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Available at:,recommended%20limits%20are%20even%20lower.
  2. Sumi, M., Takashi Hisamatsu, Akira Fujiyoshi, Kadota, A., Miyagawa, N., Kondo, K., Kadowaki, S., Suzuki, S., Torii, S., Zaid, M., Atsushi Satō, Arima, H., Tsuyoshi Takato, Miura, K. and Hirotsugu Ueshima (2019). Association of Alcohol Consumption With Fat Deposition in a Community-Based Sample of Japanese Men: The Shiga Epidemiological Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis (SESSA). Journal of Epidemiology, [online] 29(6), pp.205–212. doi:
  3. Hyun, J., Han, J., Lee, C., Yoon, M. and Jung, Y. (2021). Pathophysiological Aspects of Alcohol Metabolism in the Liver. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, [online] 22(11), pp.5717–5717. doi:
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018). Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition. [online] Available at:
  5. Muhammed Mustafa Atakan, Li, Y., Şükran Nazan Koşar, Hüseyin Hüsrev Turnagöl and Yan, X. (2021). Evidence-Based Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training on Exercise Capacity and Health: A Review with Historical Perspective. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, [online] 18(13), pp.7201–7201. doi:
  6. Yan, H., Qin, Q., Chen, J., Su, Y., Li, T., Gao, X., Yang, Y., Li, A. and Ding, S. (2022). Gut Microbiome Alterations in Patients With Visceral Obesity Based on Quantitative Computed Tomography. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, [online] 11. doi:
  7. Khanna, D., Khanna, S., Khanna, P., Payal Kahar and Patel, B.M. (2022). Obesity: A Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation and Its Markers. Cureus. [online] doi:
  8. Ju Young Kim (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, [online] 30(1), pp.20–31. doi:

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