Does Low Testosterone Cause Belly Fat?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

As men age, they may notice changes in their body composition, including an increase in abdominal fat or the development of a "beer belly." While there are various factors that can contribute to weight gain and fat distribution, one often overlooked aspect is the role of hormones, particularly testosterone.

Does Low Testosterone Cause Belly Fat?

Yes, low testosterone levels in men can contribute to an increase in abdominal fat or belly fat. While the relationship between testosterone and body fat is complex, research suggests that low testosterone levels can lead to changes in body composition, favoring the accumulation of fat around the midsection.

The Link Between Testosterone and Body Fat

Testosterone is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions, including muscle mass, bone density, and fat distribution. When testosterone levels decline, several metabolic changes can occur, contributing to an increase in belly fat:

  • Decreased Muscle Mass: Low testosterone can lead to a reduction in muscle mass, which in turn decreases the body's overall metabolic rate. This makes it easier to gain weight and harder to burn excess calories.
  • Increased Insulin Resistance: Low testosterone levels have been associated with increased insulin resistance, which can contribute to the accumulation of abdominal fat and an increased risk of developing metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Testosterone and other hormones, such as estrogen and cortisol, work in a delicate balance. When testosterone levels are low, it can disrupt this balance, leading to an increase in abdominal fat storage.

Other Factors Contributing to Belly Fat

While low testosterone can play a role in the development of belly fat, it's important to note that there are other factors that can contribute to weight gain and an increase in abdominal fat, including:

  • Poor Diet: A diet high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats can promote weight gain and abdominal fat accumulation.
  • Lack of Physical Activity: A sedentary lifestyle and lack of regular exercise can lead to muscle loss and a slower metabolism, making it easier to gain weight.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can contribute to the accumulation of abdominal fat.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to carrying more weight around the midsection.
  • Age: As men age, their testosterone levels naturally decline, which can contribute to changes in body composition and an increase in belly fat.
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Addressing Belly Fat and Low Testosterone

If you are experiencing an increase in belly fat and suspect that low testosterone may be a contributing factor, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate your overall hormone levels, identify any underlying medical conditions, and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Potential strategies to address belly fat and low testosterone may include:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a balanced diet rich in whole foods, engaging in regular exercise (particularly strength training), and managing stress can help support testosterone production and promote a healthier body composition.
  • Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): In cases of clinically low testosterone levels, your healthcare provider may recommend TRT to restore normal testosterone levels and potentially reduce abdominal fat.
  • Weight Loss: Losing excess weight, particularly abdominal fat, can help improve testosterone levels and overall metabolic health.
  • Addressing Underlying Conditions: If an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea or thyroid disorders, is contributing to low testosterone and weight gain, treating these conditions may help improve hormone levels and body composition.


Low testosterone levels can contribute to an increase in abdominal fat or belly fat in men. However, it's essential to recognize that belly fat is a multifactorial issue influenced by various factors, including diet, physical activity, stress, genetics, and age.

If you are concerned about low testosterone levels and belly fat, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and treatment recommendations. By addressing any underlying hormone imbalances or deficiencies, along with adopting a healthy lifestyle and managing any contributing medical conditions, you can potentially reduce belly fat, improve overall body composition, and support overall health and well-being.

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.