The objective of this study was to assess the effects of chromium yeast and chromium picolinate on lean body mass during and after weight reduction with a very-low-calorie diet. 36 obese (BMI 33.7 +/- 5.4 kg/m2), non-diabetic patients aged 45 +/- 6 years undergoing a 8-week very-low-calorie diet followed by a 18-week maintenance period. During the whole 26 week treatment period subjects received either placebo or chromium yeast (200 micrograms/d) or chromium-picolinate (200 micrograms/d) in a double-blind manner. Body weight was measured as BMI and body composition after calculation from skinfold thickness. As a result all three groups showed comparable weight loss after 8 and 26 weeks. Lean body mass was reduced in all groups after 8 weeks. However, after 26 weeks chromium picolinate supplemented subjects showed increased lean body mass (p < 0.029) whereas the other treatment groups still had reduced lean body mass. Chromium picolinate, but not chromium yeast, is able to increase lean body mass in obese patients in the maintenance period after a very-low-calorie diet without counteracting the weight loss achieved.