Supplementing Your Diet With This Mineral Can Help You Burn Fat and Lose Weight Faster
Holiday treats don’t feel like such a treat when you’re watching your waistline. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could eat all the yummy things you wanted and still shed the extra pounds you’re trying to lose? It could actually be possible! Getting more of a mineral called chromium in your diet, which many of us are deficient in, can really boost your weight loss efforts. And that means you may not have to skip the mashed potato bar this year!
What is chromium?
Back in the day, our grandmothers (and their grandmothers!) got the nutrients they needed from the food they ate, and they rarely struggled with weight or diabetes. But with each generation, farm soil and the food it produces have become more depleted of minerals. This has led to a deficiency in a nutrient key to both health and weight loss: chromium.
According to Science Direct, older women are at risk for chromium deficiency, which is crucial to controlling blood sugar. No wonder 100 million Americans currently have (or are at risk of developing) insulin-related concerns, including pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance! Inevitably, all that uncontrolled sugar in the bloodstream is converted to fat, creating extra pounds.
It’s nearly impossible to get enough chromium from diet alone. Nutritional medical expert Fred Pescatore, M.D., estimates, “You’d have to eat 10,000 calories of soil-based foods each day to get enough chromium from your diet. Can you imagine how much broccoli that would be?”
How does chromium help us lose weight?
The good news is, you can slim down during the holidays without ever breaking a sweat, say Georgetown University researchers. In their study, all women on a diet lost about the same amount of weight, but those supplementing with chromium lost 84 percent of their weight from fat. Those in the control group experienced only eight percent of fat loss — and they also lost muscle. The mineral mimicked results normally achieved only by weight-lifting and cardio workouts. Study author Harry Preuss, M.D., explains, “With enough chromium, muscle cells can make muscle, less extra sugar is stored as fat, and excess fat can be burned as fuel.”
Chromium helped ward off cravings and fat storage, resulting in subjects dropping pounds faster. Supplementing with the mineral built up healthy reserves in the body, so the women kept experiencing fat loss for eight weeks after the study ended!
Why is chromium so crucial for easy weight loss? Insulin is the hormone needed to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells for energy., and chromium is needed to open those cells. “Chromium preps the cells’ receptor sites,” explains Dr. Pescatore. “It’s what insulin docks onto.”
Without chromium, sugar builds up, fueling cravings and weight gain, especially in the belly. Stress and all the holiday treats only compound the problem. But when chromium is properly ingested and absorbed, it leads to slimming. In one study, fat loss increased by 950 percent in people who took an absorbable form of chromium, compared to those who received a placebo.
What type of chromium is best for weight loss?
Until recently, many chromium supplements didn’t reliably correct dietary deficiencies because common formulations were difficult for the body to absorb. Luckily, Biochemist Ned Jensen discovered a way to make chromium more soluble and bioavailable by combining it with niacin (or vitamin B3), creating a complex called chromium glucose tolerance factor (GTF). It absorbed six times more than previously available forms. The result? Amazing improvements in blood sugar control and waist-whittling. Jensen notes one diabetic subject who struggled with high blood sugar, lowered levels from 220 to 120 in just an hour after taking liquid chromium GTF. That’s 98 percent faster than the diabetes prescription metformin, which takes 48 hours to work. (If vitamins aren’t part of your daily routine, these are our favorite supplements for women over 50.)
If you want to indulge in holiday treats without worrying about gaining weight, lifting chromium levels can help. In a Duke University study, women who took chromium decreased their hunger and ate 380 fewer calories per day. And all women reported a 50 percent drop in cravings in just two weeks!
Even if you’re not concerned about your weight, there are others chromium benefits beyond the scale. Increasing chromium levels reduces diabetes risk by 27 percent, and people with healthy body stores of the mineral are 35 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, confirms Johns Hopkins University research. That’s great news, especially considering that heart disease and diabetes pose higher risks of COVID complications.
To get the benefits, experts advise supplementing with chromium GTF, aiming for 600 to 1,000 milligrams per day (less for those not struggling with weight or blood sugar). “I recommend it to every patient with insulin resistance or unwanted weight,” says Dr. Pescatore, who takes chromium himself. “I’ve seen many patients decrease their prescription diabetes medications and drop 15 pounds in two weeks.”
Sounds good to us! One to try: Nature’s Way GTF Chromium (Buy from iHerb, $5.76)
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.