Chromatin remodeling is a key mechanism in adipocyte differentiation. However, it is unknown whether dietary polyphenols are epigenetic effectors for adiposity control. Ellagic acid (EA) is a naturally occurring polyphenol in numerous fruits and vegetables. Recently, EA-containing foods have been reported to reduce adiposity. In the present study, we sought to determine whether EA inhibits adipogenesis by modifying chromatin remodeling in human adipogenic stem cells (hASCs). qPCR microarray of chromatin modification enzymes revealed that 10 μmol/L of EA significantly inhibits histone deacetylase (HDAC)9 down-regulation. In addition, EA was associated with up-regulation of HDAC activity and a marked reduction of histone acetylation levels. However, chemical inhibition of HDAC activity or depletion of HDAC9 by siRNA were not sufficient to reverse the antiadipogenic effects of EA. Intriguingly, EA treatment was also associated with reduced histone 3 arginine 17 methylation levels (H3R17me2), implying the inhibitory role of EA in coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM)1 activity during adipogenesis. Boosting CARM1 activity by delivering cell-penetrating peptides of CARM1 not only recovered H3R17me2 but also restored adipogenesis evidenced by H3 acetylation at lysine 9, HDAC9 down-regulation, PPARγ expression and triglyceride accumulation. Taken together, our data suggest that reduced CARM1 activity by EA results in a decrease of H3R17me2 levels, which may interrupt consecutive histone remodeling steps for adipocyte differentiation including histone acetylation and HDAC9 dissociation from chromatin. Our work provides the mechanistic insights into how EA, a polyphenol ubiquitously found in fruits and vegetables, attenuates human adipocyte differentiation by altering chromatin remodeling.