Subcutaneous and segmental fat loss with and without supportive supplements in conjunction with a low-calorie high protein diet in healthy women

PLoS One. 2015 Apr 15;10(4):e0123854. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123854. eCollection 2015.


Background: Weight loss benefits of multi-ingredient supplements in conjunction with a low-calorie, high-protein diet in young women are unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a three-week low-calorie diet with and without supplementation on body composition.

Methods: Thirty-seven recreationally-trained women (n = 37; age = 27.1 ± 4.2; height = 165.1 ± 6.4; weight = 68.5 ± 10.1; BMI = 25.1 ± 3.4) completed one of the following three-week interventions: no change in diet (CON); a high-protein, low-calorie diet supplemented with a thermogenic, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a protein gel, and a multi-vitamin (SUP); or the high-protein diet with isocaloric placebo supplements (PLA). Before and after the three-week intervention, body weight, %Fat via dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), segmental fat mass via DXA, %Fat via skinfolds, and skinfold thicknesses at seven sites were measured.

Results: SUP and PLA significantly decreased body weight (SUP: PRE, 70.47 ± 8.01 kg to POST, 67.51 ± 8.10 kg; PLA: PRE, 67.88 ± 12.28 kg vs. POST, 66.38 ± 11.94 kg; p ≤ 0.05) with a greater (p ≤ 0.05) decrease in SUP than PLA or CON. SUP and PLA significantly decreased %Fat according to DXA (SUP: PRE, 34.98 ± 7.05% to POST, 32.99 ± 6.89%; PLA: PRE, 34.22 ± 6.36% vs. POST, 32.69 ± 5.84%; p ≤ 0.05), whereas only SUP significantly decreased %Fat according to skinfolds (SUP: PRE, 27.40 ± 4.09% to POST, 24.08 ± 4.31%; p ≤ 0.05). SUP significantly (p ≤ 0.05) decreased thicknesses at five skinfolds (chest, waist, hip, subscapular, and tricep) compared to PLA, but not at two skinfolds (axilla and thigh).

Conclusions: The addition of a thermogenic, CLA, protein, and a multi-vitamin to a three-week low-calorie diet improved weight loss, total fat loss and subcutaneous fat loss, compared to diet alone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Diet, Reducing / methods*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated / administration & dosage*
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Subcutaneous Fat / drug effects
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Linoleic Acids, Conjugated
  • Vitamins

Grant support

MusclePharm Corporation funded this study. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors PHF, CYT, LRC, JMJ, MMM, MPK, TRM and JRM, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.