We are constantly being marketed quick fixes to meet our goal weight and optimal wellness, but of course, such quick fixes simply do not exist. There is no black magic we can add to cart, click, and purchase to be on our way to our ’90s dream Carmen Electra body (think Scary Movie, running in the perfect white panty set, taut and gleaming in the moonlight). But enough about Carmen.
There are, however, some supplements that research indicates can help with weight loss, such as CLA (conjugated linoleic acids) and DIM (diindolylmethane). There are many unofficial claims that they can help us to shed stubborn belly fat, but nothing is ever so simple, or targeted, in the world of weight loss.
First of all, let’s break down what these compounds are. CLA is a naturally occurring fatty acid that is found in meat and dairy products. There are cases where it helps humans to lose weight, but they’ve been proven to be inconsistent. CLA can help to resynthesize glycogen, which may contribute to its fat-burning abilities. It also helps with control and maintenance of type 2 diabetes, which is the type of diabetes often associated with obesity.
DIM is a compound our body creates when we digest cruciferous vegetables—think broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. This compound has the ability to mitigate hormone levels, namely estrogen, in the body. This is the reason that it may help with stubborn weight loss. An excess of estrogen can lead to weight gain in both men and women, especially around the middle—think belly, hips, and thighs.
Sarah Greenfield, a registered Functional Medicine Dietician and absolute queen of all things digestive health, knows her way around supplements. It’s almost like she’s dedicated her entire career around them … because she has.
“I use DIM to help people break down toxic forms of estrogen. When we look at phase 1 of estrogen metabolism, you can see how the body is breaking it down. There are several forms of estrogen that can be more toxic to the body, and DIM helps create a healthy balance of estrogen. It can also help prevent the conversion of estrogen and may be beneficial for those who have estrogen dominance—a condition that may lead to weight gain.”
For this reason, DIM could be helpful with estrogen/hormonal-related acne as well as reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. This doesn’t make it a cure-all or, again, a quick fix for rapid weight loss without putting in the work. The same with CLA. Greenfield explains that “CLA has been studied to assist in weight loss, but it has to be taken in high amounts (3-6 grams), and even then the weight-loss outcome is minimal.”
She also says, “One of the most important things to understand when it comes to weight loss and supplements is that they work best when combined with a healthy lifestyle. Taking a supplement and not changing anything will not yield results. I like to ensure the body is always in balance, and that if weight is an issue, you are looking at all body systems to restore overall balance.” When we are dedicated to holistic wellness instead of fixating on something like targeted weight loss, only then can we begin to see real results.
Up next, be the first to know our weekly content and sign up for our Poosh newsletter.