Visceral fat: does intermittent fasting help against it? |

New study
Intermittent fasting does not seem to help against the most dangerous belly fat

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Intermittent fasting is trendy – it helps you lose weight and has many health benefits. A new study now suggests that the method cannot help against the dangerous visceral belly fat of all things.

At least since Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen has lost 10 kilos Intermittent fasting is an unbroken trend in weight loss. And that's no wonder: the method offers several possible variations that can be easily integrated into everyday life. For example, you can eat for eight hours with the 16: 8 method and then fast for 16 hours, or with the 5: 2 diet you can completely avoid eating two days a week. You don't have to pay attention to the size of the meals, nor do you have to completely refrain from each snack.

Healthy and slim thanks to intermittent fasting?

Even the short period of fasting leads to what is known as autophagy: the body increasingly forms new cells and actively combats inflammation. The good intestinal bacteria should also be able to benefit from intermittent fasting. Various studies have shown the positive effects of intermittent fasting on general health and weight. Now researchers from Sydney in Australia seem to have found a catch in the miracle weight loss trend: Intermittent fasting could be useless against visceral belly fat, which is considered dangerous.

Visceral fat is particularly metabolically active fat that sits in and around the organs in the abdominal cavity. This fat forms messenger substances that can be harmful to health, for example by promoting inflammation and insulin resistance, as well as causing blood pressure to skyrocket. Visceral belly fat increases the likelihood of various diseases such as a heart attack, stroke, diabetes or arteriosclerosis. Particularly tricky: the fat cannot be seen from the outside – even slim people can be affected by a lot of visceral fat without knowing it.

The positive effects of fasting

The Australian scientists examined the effects of intermittent fasting with the help of a study on mice. In general, fasting showed clear changes in around 1,800 proteins in the adipose tissue of the animals, which meant that fat cells could be better converted into energy and broken down. In mice that only fasted once, only 300 proteins changed in the adipose tissue.

Intermittent fasting does not compete with visceral fat

But: The positive effects were only seen in the so-called subcutaneous fat tissue – the fat that can often be seen as a classic lifebuoy on the stomach. The visceral fat appeared to defend itself successfully against intermittent fasting. Because there, the fasting method reduced an important protein, which is responsible for fat loss, by a factor of four. On the other hand, the proportion of proteins that are responsible for building fat increased. "Most noticeable in visceral adipose tissue is the downregulation of fat dissolving and the ramping up of the metabolic pathways for the synthesis of fatty acids," as the study authors write. "This type of adjustment could be the reason why belly fat can stubbornly resist losing weight, even with lengthy diets."

The realization is certainly frustrating for fans of intermittent fasting. But now that researchers have discovered visceral fat's surprising response to intermittent fasting, As a next step, you can investigate why this reaction occurs and what can be done about it.

Sources:, CellReports