BACKGROUND: Identifying new ways to decrease adiposity will be very valuable for health. The aim of this study was to find out whether L-Arginine (Arg) and selenium alone or together can increase the effect of hypocaloric diet enriched in legumes (HDEL) on anthropometric measures in healthy obese women.METHODS: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was undertaken in 84 healthy premenopausal women with central obesity. After 2 weeks of run-in on an isocaloric diet, participants were randomly considered to eat HDEL, Arg (5 g/d) and HDEL, selenium (200 mg/d) and HDEL or Arg, selenium and HDEL for 6 weeks. The following variables were assessed before intervention and 3 and 6 weeks after it: weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, waist to hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), and fasting nitrite/nitrate (NOx) concentrations. Other variables (arm, thigh, calf and breast circumferences, subscapular, triceps, biceps and suprailiac skinfold thicknesses, sum of skinfold thicknesses (SSF), body density (D) and estimated percent of body fat (EPF)) were assessed before and after intervention.RESULTS: HDEL showed a significant effect in reduction of waist, hip, arm, thigh, calf and breast circumferences, triceps, biceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfold thicknesses, WHR, SSF, D and EPF. HDEL+Arg+selenium significantly reduced suprailiac skinfold thicknesses; and there was no significant effect of HDEL, Arg, selenium and Arg plus selenium on weight, BMI and fasting NOx.CONCLUSIONS: The study indicates that HDEL+Arg+selenium reduce suprailiac skinfold thicknesses which represents the abdominal obesity reduction.