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Can Vaseline Burn Belly Fat Or Is This Some Crazy Myth?

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: September 28, 2022

As a personal fitness coach, I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked about crazy ideas to lose weight fast.

But when I heard about using vaseline for losing belly fat while you sleep, I thought this was a new level of craziness.

Skepticism aside, I decided to look into the concept of vaseline and plastic wrap and how they might impact weight loss. And with the help of a physician, I did some extensive research into the scientific literature.

Let’s see if you can lose belly fat overnight with vaseline.

Quick Summary

  • Several social media influencers have promoted the concept that you can reduce belly fat overnight with vaseline.
  • The idea involves applying vaseline to a body part and then wrapping it in plastic.
  • Apparently, this should cause increased heat that will burn calories and weight, but the apparent science behind it is a bit of a mystery.

Does Vaseline Help You Lose Weight?

Vaseline bottle isolated background

No, vaseline doesn’t help you lose weight or even burn calories.

In all my years of working as a personal trainer, I’ve seen a lot of people recommend creams and lotions that can help you lose belly fat.

But in my experience, these have always been some form of snake oil.

See, the only way you can lose weight by burning off fat is by boosting your metabolic rate.

And while there are certain herbs and micronutrients that can boost your metabolism, these simply don’t exist in the form of a magic cream.

I did find one study on a branded cream, but the important thing is that the test subjects achieved weight loss because they were walking and exercising [1].

And the doctor I did this research with said that this was the typical kind of study that such ideas are based on.

More on the science behind it shortly.

Let’s take a look at how people believe they can lose belly fat overnight with vaseline.

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How Do People Use Vaseline For Weight Loss?

People use vaseline for weight loss by applying petroleum jelly to a certain belly part along with plastic wrap.

For example, they would apply a lot of vaseline to the abdomen and then use kitchen film to wrap around the same area.

Apparently, this will also work on the thighs and arms as well.

The idea is that this will cause increased heat and help you deal with stubborn belly fat.

And while I have no doubt that wrapping your body in plastic will cause you to sweat, this isn’t due to higher metabolic activity but rather the inability to sweat and cool the skin [2].

I actually tried this out as part of my research. And what I found was that whether I used vaseline or not, the amount of sweating under the plastic seemed to be the same.

To me, it seems like all that sweating might have caused some diminished brain power, as there is a big difference between temporary loss of water weight and actual weight loss that results in a flat stomach.

What Does Science Say About It?

A woman with different spot of vaseline on her belly

There is absolutely no reliable scientific evidence that petroleum jelly and plastic wrap will help you lose belly fat overnight.

And I would go one step further to say that it won’t do anything for additional calorie burning during exercise [3].

Believing that the increased heat and sweating is the result of an increased metabolic rate is complete science fiction.

What I did find is that many websites that claimed there was some sort of cream that had been scientifically proven to help you lose belly fat were based on deeply flawed trials.

In most cases, they didn’t involve a reliable control group. And they never used just the cream or petroleum jelly in isolation.

They always include diet and exercise, and it’s those factors that achieve fat loss.

The additional lost weight immediately after taking off the vaseline and plastic is entirely down to sweating, and you’ll notice water weight gain within just a few hours.

Dangers And Side Effects

Because there is a near complete lack of reliable scientific studies into the method to lose belly fat, there’s also very little known about the dangers and side effects.

But the doctor I did this research with did highlight something interesting.

It’s very likely that all that plastic wrapping at night or at the gym will lead to excessive sweating.

And when people don’t properly plan to deal with that significant loss of water, then it can actually lead to water retention.

In more extreme cases, it could also cause dehydration, and that can make you very sick and unwell [4].

“Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluids than you take in, meaning your body doesn't have enough water to carry out its normal functions.”

- Angela Joseph, Writer at Healthfully.com. 

Does Vaseline Work During Exercise?

Wiping Vaseline lotion on her belly

The simple answer is no; vaseline doesn’t work to burn extra calories for weight loss during exercise.

And it’s not a solution the supplement industry is hiding from the public as a way to deal with stubborn fat.

If you find a study that claims to have found that a topical cream can help you lose belly fat more quickly during exercise, then check for one key problem.

See if the study simply involved a test group who exercised and applied a specific cream.

And if there is a double-blind control group involved, then you can safely come to the conclusion that the exercise helped burn fat and not some magic cream.

Better Options For Effective Weight Loss

The very first thing you need to achieve a flat belly is to stop eating junk like fried food and sugary drinks.

Then reduce your calorie intake so that you have a deficit and burn more calories than you take in [5].

Do thirty minutes of physical activity a day, and head to the gym three days a week for some solid aerobic workouts. 

There is only one way that you can lose weight overnight, and that is with a nighttime fat burner. These can boost metabolism rates while you’re resting, but they won’t make you slim in a few days.

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FAQs

Can You Apply Vaseline Every Day?

Yes, you can apply vaseline every day as long as you don’t develop any skin reactions. Just don’t expect it to help you with losing weight or allow you to burn fat more effectively.

Does Vaseline Make You Sweat More?

No, there is no scientific evidence that vaseline will make you sweat more. The fraudulent vaseline weight loss theory also involves wrapping the body in plastic, and it’s the plastic that causes sweating.

Take The Sensible Approach To Weight Loss

You can certainly buy vaseline to deal with chapped lips and dry skin, but don’t expect it to have any permanent impact on your health and weight.

A weight loss journey has to involve a healthy diet and workouts, and you’re better off not believing in stuff that sounds too good to be true.

The one way you can lose belly fat overnight is with a nighttime fat burner. These are stimulant-free supplements that trigger natural metabolic responses to burn more calories while you’re resting.


References:

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12801
  2. https://healthfully.com/why-wrapping-your-stomach-in-plastic-wrap-to-lose-weight-is-a-really-bad-idea-4984492.html
  3. https://goaskalice.columbia.edu/answered-questions/working-out-while-wrapped-plastic-good-weight-loss/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/symptoms-causes/syc-20354086
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18025815/

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