What Is Skinny Fat? Main Causes of Having Skinny Fat

Skinny fat mainly refers to the body composition where a person appears thin or skinny but still has a higher percentage of body fat relative to muscle mass. However, this specific disorder may be misleading since it typically does not manifest as obesity but can lead to various other health problems.

This article will discuss the concept of skinny fat, its primary causes, and how you can address this concern.

What Does Exactly Skinny Fat Mean?

Skinny fat is when a person looks slim but has a higher proportion of body fat compared to lean muscle mass. This specific condition is common and is characterized by a lack of muscle definition and tone.

Causes for Having Skinny Fat

So, it makes the sufferer have a soft and flabby appearance. Even though skinny, fat people seem fit, internally, they are at high risk of getting other health problems like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.

Primary Reasons For Having Skinny Fat

If you are wondering why you have skinny fat, you have come to the right place. Here, we will discuss the primary reasons behind having skinny fat. So, let’s know!

1. Poor dieting

One of the primary causes of having skinny fat is an unhealthy diet. Consuming excessive junk foods like processed foods, sugary snacks, fried items, foods that are high in fat, etc., stores excess calories as fat.

These types of foods generally lack essential nutrients needed for muscle growth. So, it leaves the sufferer with inadequate lean muscle mass to balance the fat, which further leads to skinny fat.

2. Hormonal imbalance

Hormonal disruption can be another significant reason for having skinny fat. Elevated cortisol levels create chronic stress, which can promote fat accumulation at a rapid speed. It stores the fat, especially around the abdominal area.

So, the hormonal imbalance caused by a poor diet impairs the body’s capability to handle muscle development and fat storage. As a result, it makes people develop skinny fat.

3. Lack of exercise

A lack of regular activity can significantly increase fat development and reduce lean muscle production. Without adequate physical activity, your body never receives the necessary signals to build and maintain body muscle, encouraging fat to accumulate easily.

4. Chronic stress

Prolonged periods of stress can be a prominent reason for having skinny fat since excessive stress develops body fat both internally and externally. The stress can also break down the muscle tissue, making it challenging for your body to maintain a healthy muscle-fat ratio.

5. Insufficient protein intake

Protein plays a crucial role in muscle growth and repair. So, inadequate protein intake hinders the development of your body’s lean muscle and promotes body fat. Furthermore, protein deficiency also reduces the feeling of fullness, leading to excessive eating and fat gain.

6. Sleeping disorder

Insufficient or poor-quality sleep also disrupts the hormones responsible for appetite and metabolism. So, it becomes easier for your body to gain fat. As a result, you end up consuming calorie-rich foods.

How to Cure Skinny Fat Problem?

Even if you gain skinny fat, there are several ways to cure the problem. Here are a few effective ways.

  • Adopt a Healthy Diet: Focus on having unprocessed and fat-infused foods and maintain a healthy diet, as it can cure skinny fat. Take healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats, fruits, etc.

  • Intake Enough Protein: Incorporate lean sources of protein in your diet, such as lean fish, meats, dairy, and plant-based options. Protein intake is crucial for healthy muscle growth and reduced fat production.

  • Get Sufficient Sleep: You must prioritize quality sleep to support muscle recovery, hormonal regulation, and overall well-being. Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to strike a healthy balance between fat and muscle.

  • Manage Stress: Consider doing stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, etc. It will help you manage stress to protect you from gaining excessive fat internally.

  • Incorporate Strength Training: Engage yourself in resistance training exercises to tone muscle, boost metabolism, and reduce body fat. It helps you get more defined and transforms skinny fat into healthier muscle.


It is worth noting that body composition is an individualized and complex process. So, it can take time to achieve the desired balance between muscle and fat. If you are a person who suffers from skinny fat, you can follow the aforementioned effective ways to cure it.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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