The aim of the present experiment was to test the hypothesis that during refeeding a redistribution of intra-abdominal fat takes place and that both the recovery of weight and the redistribution of intra-abdominal fat are related to the type of dietary fat. The experimental study was carried out using male Sprague–Dawley rats. Three groups of animals were fed diets with three different fatty acid profiles. Each group contained two branches, one fed normally and the other fed initially with a 50 % energy reduction followed by refeeding ad libitum with the same isoenergetic diet as the control branch, giving a total of six treatments. Measurements were made of the final and incremental weight of the rat, weight of the intra-abdominal adipose tissue (total intra-abdominal, epididymal, omental and retroperitoneal adipose tissue weight), and feed efficacy (weight incremen/etabolizable energy intake). Carcass, epididymal, omental, and muscle lipid contents, carcass protein and energy density were also measured. The results revealed that diets rich in fish oil or olive oil increase catch-up growth more than diets rich in saturated fats. During refeeding the lipid content in the adipose tissue increases while that of muscle tissue decreases. A diet rich in saturated fats induces a relative increase in the amount of intra-abdominal adipose tissue. The lipid content in adipose and muscle tissues and the distribution of intra-abdominal fat can all be modified by the type of dietary fat.