Question: A friend told me that she takes a chromium supplement to help her lose weight. Is this a good diet pill to take?
Answer: Your body needs very small quantities of chromium to help your body process glucose. This link prompted scientists to investigate the benefits of chromium picolinate supplements for weight loss as well as for the treatment of insulin resistance.
As can be expected, many companies jumped on the bandwagon to promote chromium picolinate supplements as an aid to weight loss with claims that it helps to stabilize your blood sugar, increase lean muscle mass and promote fat loss. Of course, keeping your blood sugar levels stable is very important in managing your weight, because that is the key to controlling your appetite.
A number of scientific studies were conducted to test these claims with very little success. Results obtained from these studies showed that chromium picolinate supplementation does not help increase lean muscle mass nor does it help people lose weight.
Studies to examine the benefits of chromium picolinate supplements as an aid in the treatment of insulin resistance (and improvement in blood sugar levels) delivered mixed results, as small improvements in glucose resistance were reported in some trials while improved short-term insulin levels reported on others, with no change in insulin sensitivity. Opinions still vary and the FDA issued a statement in 2006 indicating that the relationship between insulin resistance and the use of Chromium Picolinate supplements is still highly uncertain.
The best way to keep your blood sugar levels stable is to eat regularly, and to follow a healthy diet that contains plenty of lean protein as well as fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. The most important aspect of a healthy diet (especially if you are concerned about your blood sugar levels) is to stay away as far as possible from refined carbs, including white bread, cake, pastries, sweets and anything else sweetened with sugar.