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I Can See My Ribs, But I Have Belly Fat, Possible Reasons Explained!

Visible ribs but still have belly fat?  Well, several people do not look like they are overweight but for some reason, they have a protruding belly. That’s why this concern is getting more common.

If you can see your ribs with considerable belly fat, it really spoils the body shape.  So, the question arises, I can see my ribs, but I have belly fat. Is that possible?

Yes, it is quite common to have ribs with belly fat. It doesn’t matter whether you’re overweight or not, the belly fat can still be there because of so many possible reasons. Even the most skinny people can have belly fat. 

The article will highlight all the possible reasons for having belly fat along with prominent ribs and how to get rid of it.

Table of Content

Types of Belly Fat That Can Be There Even if You Have Visible Ribs

Belly fat is a common problem with a lot of people, but sometimes being overweight is not the only reason. All the protruding bellies are not the same, especially when your ribs are visible and you still have belly fat, you may have one of the following types of belly fat:

Postpartum Belly

It is also called the mother’s belly. After delivery, the abdominal muscles in women are stretched and separated. It results in a protruding abdomen.


Hormonal Belly

The abnormal hormone levels can cause excess fat cells to deposit around your belly. It is common among  females but is also seen in males. This type of fat mostly deposits on your lower belly. It is mainly due to imbalance of sex hormones or increased cortisol leves.

Bloated Belly

A belly that sticks may be because of gas or water retention. It is mainly due to high sugar and sodium and the type of food you eat.  Too much sugar intake is one of the reasons that converts glucose into fat cells. Also, high salt intake stores more water in body cells.

Beer Belly

This type of belly fat is due to beer and alcohol consumption. Consuming too much alcohol slows down your metabolism and causes fat cells to deposit on your stomach. Also, if you consume alcohol, it negatively affects your liver metabolism, hence fat cells can not be metabolized.

Stress Belly

Stress belly is when you take a lot of stress from various things. It is related to bad mental health and causes fat deposition on your midsection.

No matter how much you diet or exercise, it will not work until you don’t know what type of belly fat you have. If you are concerned about that, I can see my ribs but I have belly fat, this might be a type of above-mentioned belly fat.

Causes Behind Belly Fat Along With Visible Ribs

A lot of people are not able to lose belly fat even after losing so much weight. 

The reason is that belly fat is very difficult to lose. It is the last place from where the fat starts to melt during weight loss. That’s the reason, this fat is called stubborn. All the fat stores are deposited here.

So, when you start losing weight, at first you lose it from limbs and other body parts. And belly fat starts to burn at the end of this process. 

However, belly fat is dangerous for your health as it covers the vital organs. So, if you have belly fat along with visible ribs, the following can be the reasons:


The main cause of belly fat is consuming too much sugar. It raises the insulin hormone too high in the body. Having too much sugar in the body can cause excess belly fat even if the rest of your body is skinny.

As a defense mechanism, the body converts excess sugar into fat cells. Sugar is hidden mainly in all kinds of fruit juices, flavored yogurts, donuts, soda drinks, candies, and many others.

Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates are converted into sugars when they enter the body. However, some release faster in blood than others.

Refined carbs are present in  flour-based products and other foods like rice, cereals, bread, pasta. These are high on the glycemic index and such foods cause the formation of fat cells.

Trans Fats

Hydrogenated oils contain trans fat and they cause worse belly fat.  vegetable oils, margarine, cottonseed oil, and canola oil are belly fat causing hydrogenated oils.

They initiate insulin resistance in the body. It means that your cells can no longer accept the sugar. This is the main process leading to fat accumulation around your midsection.


If you are gaining weight around your stomach, and your ribs are also prominent, it can be because of a high intake of stimulants.

Energy drinks and alcohol are the worst kinds of stimulants that contain a lot of sugar. This sugar can cause your belly to bloat and also lead to fat cell deposition.



Whenever you feel worried or anxious, your endocrine glands produce too much stress hormone called cortisol. This hormone can lead to weight gain around the waist line and on your belly.

 Nutrient deficiencies can also cause stress. However, any kind of stress can lead to belly fat accumulation.


The body absorbs many dangerous free radicals from the environment pollutants. Pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants commonly disturbs normal human functions. These are called hormonal disruptors which become the cause of hormonal imbalance.

These often cause the body to have too much estrogen in both women and men. It leads to a fat layer formation around the stomach and breasts.

All of these reasons can cause excess belly fat even if you’re skinny to the extent that you can see your ribs. So, you can be underweight and you can still have belly fat.

What Should You Do?

Losing belly fat is hard but you can make it easy with some tips and tricks. Here are the effective tips to add to your lifestyle to lose belly fat, no matter your ribs are visible.

  • Cut the sugars out of your diet. Always check the nutrition labels for dangerous sugars like maltodextrin, high fructose corn syrup and fruit concentrates.
  • Cut out the refined carbohydrates from your diet and add fiber-rich green leafy vegetables to consume essential nutrients.
  • Cook your healthy meals using coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil. Avoid cooking food in trans fats and margarine.
  • Detox your body with water and salads to get healthy nutrients. They will help you improve mood and manage stress.
  • Take a high protein diet to have strong muscles and try to keep the number of carbohydrates low in your diet.
  • Make sure your hormones are balanced. If you feel like there is some hormonal imbalance in your body, consult your doctor to fix it immediately.
  • Drink green tea or chamomile tea or any other tea to have some antioxidants in your body. Also, eat yogurt and fermented foods as they are probiotics and keep your gut healthy.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine and alcohol. They slow down your metabolism and you gain weight.
  • Drink a lot of water. It increases your metabolism and helps in belly fat loss.
  • Take quality sleep. It can reduce your cravings to eat too much sugar and carbohydrates.


Are you too skinny, if you can see your ribs?

Answer: If you can see your ribs, it doesn’t mean that you’re too skinny. The rib cage is normally visible even in healthy individuals. And it is possible to see ribs even if you have belly fat.

Do I have abs or is it my rib cage?

Answer: Abs are the abdominal muscles that are just in front of your belly. These are three layers of prominent muscles on both sides of your belly. The rib cage is made of ribs. They lie just about your diaphragm.

Can you see ribs and have belly fat?

Answer: Yes, it is possible to have belly fat, if you can see your ribs. It may be a hormonal belly, stress belly, bloated belly, or postpartum belly in the case of females.

What does it mean if your ribs are showing?

Answer: If your rib cage is showing, it may be because of muscular weakness. The muscles of your back and abdomen play a vital role in supporting your rib cage. Muscular weakness can cause the rib cage to become visible and sometimes it protrudes forward.

Bottom Line

I can see my ribs, but I have belly fat, which is a common concern of most people. Belly fat is a common problem around the world and it has various different reasons. This is also called central obesity.

The only thing to keep in mind is to diagnose the type of belly fat you have. Then, work on the cause accordingly. Consult a doctor if you think that this is something alarming or if your ribs are protruding too much or your belly is too inflamed.

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