Differential effects of dietary restriction combined with exercise vs dietary restriction alone on visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues: A systematic review

Yeraz Khachatoorian*, Anastasia Samara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review


Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) are associated with cardio metabolic risk factors. A number of studies have reported the effects of lifestyle interventions on VAT and SAT loss. In this review, we aimed to compare the effects of dietary restriction (DR) alone vs DR combined with exercise (DR + E) on VAT and SAT loss in healthy adults. Specifically, we aimed to assess the differential effects of different lifestyle interventions including DR vs DR combined with exercise on VAT and ASAT loss. Of sixteen studies that met the eligibility criteria's, one study had DR vs AE (aerobic exercise) vs DR + AE (DRAE) groups, five studies had DR vs DR + AE (DRAE) vs DR + RE (resistance exercise) (DRRE) groups, nine studies had DR vs DR + AE (DRAE) groups (of which two studies also had C (control) group), and one study had C vs DR vs DR + RE (DRRE). Results observed significant VAT and SAT loss in all intervention groups with no statistically significant difference among intervention groups. In conclusion, fat loss of all types (visceral and subcutaneous) is mostly related to energy deficit, i.e. the differential between energy intake and expenditure, independent of the method used to achieve the deficit (dietary restriction alone or dietary restriction plus exercise).

Original languageEnglish
JournalObesity Medicine
Pages (from-to)7-17
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2018



  • Dietary restriction
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Subcutaneous adipose tissue
  • Visceral adipose tissue

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