Photo of wheat grass
You don't have to grow your own! Wheatgrass supplements can aid weight loss. [Photo:Wikimedia Commons]

Q&A: Gentle support for weight loss

17 January, 2012

Q — My weight is a continual battle. Over the festive season I’ve put on so much weight and feel so uncomfortable. Are there an alternative remedies you know of that might help to control my appetite or help to lose weight — and keep the pounds off?


A — There are no miracles involved in losing weight, and the winter can be especially tricky as we tend to want more stodgy, warming, comforting foods and then as you say, the festive season can be many people’s downfall!

The answers lie in a realistic, healthy food plan, getting regular exercise (finding something that you actually enjoy is the important thing here) and finding and maintaining a positive motivation.

Having said that, there are some food supplements that have stood up to clinical trials as helping with weight maintenance and weight loss.


Chromium is an important mineral that helps to reduce sugar cravings by regulating blood sugar levels. It also helps to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle tissues.

Research has shown that overweight individuals engaged in a modest diet-exercise regime supplementing with 600mcg chromium daily for two months resulted in significant loss of fat compared to placebo. A trace mineral complex with added chromium is the ideal way to take it.


Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance that is important for creating energy in the cells. It is found in foods such as fish and meats or may be taken as a supplement.

Used alongside a sensible weight loss programme CoQ10 also increases your body’s ability to transform food into energy, and it regulates the fats and sugars found in your blood thus helping you to avoid the tiredness that leads to snacking..

Aim for 30-50 mg per day and because CoQ10 is fat-soluble, it should be taken with fat-containing food for improved absorption.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid is a healthy fat (yes they do exist!) found in many of the foods we eat. In the days when animals like cows and sheep were grazed exclusively on grass, beef and lamb and milk were our best sources. These days when aminals are fed on maize beef and lamb cannot provide much of this nutrient. For infants breastmilk is an important source of CLA.

CLA has antioxidant/anti-inflammatory activity. It may help decreases body fat, around the abdomen as well as blocking the absorption of fat and sugar into fat cells and increasing insulin sensitivity.

Switching to organic grass-fed meat and dairy products is the most natural way to boost your CLA intake. But you can also take it as a supplement. Aim for 1-3 g per day.

Cereal grasses

Cereal grasses can be used away from meals to reduce cravings and improve overall nutritional intake. The cleansing benefits of cereal grasses also support healthy liver function and regular bowel movements, a central factor in weight management.

The company Viridian makes a supplement Organic Soul Food Greens – available in powder and capsule form – that is based on wheat grass and barley grass that are chlorophyll rich super-foods providing an abundance of nutrients.