Poor Sleep Increases Harmful Visceral Fat, Study Suggests

May, 2022 - By SMI

Poor Sleep Increases Harmful Visceral Fat, Study Suggests

New study demonstrated that lack of sleep and free access to food is linked to increased consumption of calories and eventually accumulation of unhealthy fat inside the belly

There many studies demonstrating how good sleeping habits are important to maintain a healthy body weight. However, this link between good sleep and healthy body can be studied with deeper understandings. Now scientists at the Mayo Clinic demonstrated that lack of sleep and free access to food increases harmful visceral fat in the belly that can cause acute risks to health.

The new study focused on the differing characteristics of subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat. Visceral fat is known to account for 10% of the total body fat in most individuals, however, when this fat accumulates in excessive levels it can cause harmful problems to the body and health of an individual. The new study explored how sleep could be linked to this. The team recruited 12 healthy participants and divided them in two groups. One with normal sleeping for nine hours a night and other with restricted sleeping for four hours a night for two weeks. This was after acclimation period and recovery period of normal sleep and the groups then interchanged sleeping habits after a washout period of three month. Both the groups had availability of food as the researchers tracked their intake and expenditure of energy, body weight, appetite biomarkers and fat distribution, using CT scans.

Furthermore, the subjects consumed more than 300 extra calories every day during the restricted sleep periods with same energy expenditure. Due to this, they gained little weight however the visceral fat in them increased by 11%. The researchers found that visceral fat continued to increase beyond the restricted sleep period even if the body weight was decreasing, which could lead to increasing effects on body if sleep patterns with inadequate sleep took place over longer time.

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