Causes of Excess Body Fat

Fat is……?

causes of excess fat

Fat is a term often used loosely referring to a physical show of excess weight. It is merely an organic molecule made up of hydrogen and carbon, an essential nutrient to the total functions of a human body.

For years, fat was seen as the Godfather of unhealthy foods. In recent times, however, it has come to light that a lot of high-fat foods are healthy, including those composed of saturated fats. The issue lies in the number of calories contained in fat-high foods and the intake amount. For every gram of fat taken in 9 calories are gained; hence, 1 pound (453.592 grams) of fat is equal to 4,082.328 calories. An Avocado is 77% and contains 322 calories, twelve of which would equate the calorie count of a pound.

On paper, the figures look alarming; however, Avocados contain oleic acid and fibre. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, has been found to decrease the risk of heart diseases and LDL cholesterol levels. The fibre content of the Avocado binds to the cholesterol molecules, preventing them from being absorbed by the body, and hence the build-up of the harmful LDL cholesterol. Fibres also take a long time to digest and as such, a human body can go up to five hours without feelings of hunger after consuming half an avocado. Avocados, due to their high fibre content, create a “filled up” feeling.

It is generally advised to take Avocados in reasonable portions (i.e. a quarter), due to the high-calorie count. Other healthy foods containing fat include; Chia seeds, Whole eggs, Fatty fish and Coconuts.

Unfortunately, many today are unaware of these facts and fall into the pit of unhealthy foods and the “couch-potato” lifestyle. These individuals end up developing excess body fat, which becomes evident to the naked eye, and may negatively affect self- esteem. This is especially difficult because of the body-shaming train of the social media world in which we live.

Causes of excess Fat

Two main factors are usually considered to be the primary causes of obesity. These include inactivity, as well as unhealthy eating habits. Let’s look closely at how each of these affects your body.

Physical Inactivity:


A study by the CDC showed that an estimated 58.1% of people live sedentary lifestyles. Physical inactivity is one of the significant factors that cause excess fat to accumulate in the body. When a person is physically inactive, their body is unable to burn a sufficient amount of calories each day. This means all the excess calories will be stored as fat cells in their body.

Unhealthy Eating Habits:

Another significant concern that you need to be aware of is unhealthy eating patterns. What you eat primarily contributes to your daily caloric intake. When you eat more calories than you burn in a single day, it means all the excess calories that you consumed will be converted into fat. The result; more excess fat builds up in the body.

Unhealthy eating habits go beyond a daily calorie surplus. Unhealthy food choices, such as regularly grabbing lunch from a hot dog stand and dinner from the local pizza chain, causes more fat to accumulate in the body. It is better to opt to eat a healthy balanced diet that consists of vegetables, fruit, and lean meat cuts would be a better option.

A combination of these factors; consumption of too many calories, consistent choice of unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle, becomes a sure way of ensuring the body not only contains but retains excess calories.

Additional Risk Factors

Medical Conditions:


Some medical conditions may cause excess fat to build up in the body. These are relatively rare cases, but still noteworthy. Cushing’s syndrome is a relatively rare condition that can cause excess fat in certain parts of the body.

Hypothyroidism, a situation where there is a lack of adequate thyroid hormones, is another possible risk factor. Depression has also been associated with an increased risk of obesity and excess body fat.

Pharmaceutical Drugs:

Certain types of medication may also put a person at risk of gaining excess weight. Antidepressants are an example of drugs that may contribute to obesity. Other types of drugs that may act as a risk factor for excess fats include:

*antipsychotic drugs,


*corticosteroid medication,

*anti-seizure drugs; and

*drugs used to treat diabetes.

Genetics: It is worthy to note that genetics have also been found to play a role in determining a person’s risk of gaining excess fat. Scientists have found that genetics seemingly play a role in the quantity of fat the body tends to store, as well as how the distribution of fat works.

Sleep Deprivation:

Sleep is an essential part of a person’s daily life. Busy schedules may make it a struggle to get a full seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, this is yet another possible risk factor, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Sciences.



Sugar is another dangerous aspect of the modern diet. When consumed excessively, sugar can alter your body’s hormone balance and chemistry. This, in turn, has the propensity to increase weight and cause excess body fat.

Social Issues:

lack of money to buy good foood

There is a correlation between social and excess body fat. Lack of money to buy healthy food can lead to gaining excess body weight.

Too much alcoholic beverages:

Excessive use of alcohol can cause several health problems, which included liver diseases and inflammation. A study showed that drinking excess alcohol tends to lead to gaining weight around the belly area.

Junk Food:

junk food

Processed food generally contains many mixed additives with high-fat contents. The products in this category are usually attractive, relatively inexpensive, tasty and not easy to resist. This often leads to over-eating some of them.



When the intake of fats in unreasonably large proportions becomes a daily regimen, a human body begins to retain excess fat. Hence, an individual is more likely to suffer from heart diseases, which could lead to an early death. Although harsh, it does happen to millions of people on a global scale. Understanding what causes excess body fat is the first step to targeting obesity and gaining the ability to reduce your weight and start living a healthier life. With the insight presented in this article, it’s expected that many will try to avoid the pitfalls of daily habits, which can cause excess fats.

2 thoughts on “Causes of Excess Body Fat

  1. I never knew that a human body can go up to five hours without feelings of hunger after consuming half an avocado. You have pointed out quite a few things which lead to access to body fat. Makes you think twice about you put into your body.

    1. Hi Kay,
      It really is an interesting fact. There is so much we do not know about the things we consume and their effects on our body. Thank you so much for reading the article.

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