The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Bifidobacterium adolescentis (Bif) supplementation on visceral fat accumulation and insulin sensitivity of the metabolic syndrome in HF-diet-fed rats. Adult male Wistar rats (n 10 per group) were fed four different experimental diets for 12 weeks as follows: standard diet; high-fat (HF) diet; a mix of HF diet and Bif; a mix of standard diet and Bif. Liver, mesenteric fat, epididymal fat, retroperitoneal fat, and inguinal fat, pancreas and triceps surae in all four groups of the rats were weighed, while liver steatosis and insulin sensitivity were evaluated at the end point of the study. As the number of intestinal Bifidobacterium species decreased obviously, fat pad weight and body weight increased significantly in the HF group compared with in the other three groups (P <0·05). Addition of Bif led to a reduction in body weight and fat pad weight (P <0·05). With an increase in liver weight, more severe steatosis of hepatocytes was observed in the HF group compared with in the other three groups. A significant decrease of the glucose infusion rate and pancreas weight was found in the HF group (P <0·05). This deleterious effect was alleviated when Bif was added to the diets. Bifidobacterium supplementation ameliorated visceral fat accumulation and insulin sensitivity of the metabolic syndrome in HF-diet-fed rats.