Thursday, February 26, 2015

To Use or Not Use CLA... That Is The Question.

Captivating headlines such as “Scientific Proof” or “Melt Fat Away” are great attention getters.  The vast majority of use are certainly interested in melting fat way.  I do believe that is the new American dream. 

Here is a quick rundown on CLA.  Conjugated Linoleic Acid: A polyunsaturated fatty acid in which the position of the double bones has moved, so that a single bond alternates with two double bonds.  Okay perhaps to technical, let’s try this CLA is a collective term for a group of geometric and positional isomers of linoleic acid in which the double bonds are conjugated. One more try, CLA is as naturally occurring fatty acid.

It is an essential fatty acid.  This means that the body does not produce CLA.  It must be ingested through diet.   The best sources are grass feed meats and it is found in smaller quantities in dairy products. CLA is produced from linoleic acid (sunflower and safflower oils) utilizing a process that converts linoleic acid into conjugated linoleic acid… thus all the double bond chatter previously mentioned.

Moving on… the majority of the research regarding CLA on fat loss is performed on animals.  The research is supportive of a fat loss reduction in animals. However, the human studies are not as conclusive. In fact depending on the study results have been noted as 0.2 lbs per week, 4 lbs over 12 months, or no change.  One study noted that individuals using CLA which gained the weight back was more in the form of lean body mass and not fat. 

Increasing your consumption of CLA through your daily diet would improve impossible. CLA is available in such small amounts and is generally accompanied saturated fats (the bad fats).  This is where supplementation comes in.  You can increase your consumption of CLA using supplementation.  The good news with supplementation is that you don’t consume the additional calories from saturated fat.  The doses seem to vary, research conducted used a daily intake of 3.4 grams and 7 grams. The benefits associated with humans seems to be restricted to the obese with BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 25.

Research also points to some additional benefits of CLA, such as:
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Enhanced muscle growth
  • Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Lowers insulin resistance
  • Reduces food-induced allergic reactions
  • Enhances immune system
  • Potent anti-oxidant (inhibits the oxidation of other molecules)
  • Anticarcinogen (a substance that counteracts the effects of a carcinogen and/or inhibits the development of cancer)
  • Anticatabolite (any substance that inhibits)
  • Possible general abdominal distress
  • May induce insulin resistance in obese men with metabolic syndrome (may cause diabetes)
  • Hyperinsulinemia (excess levels of insulin, above normal)
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood glucose…blood sugar)
  • Decrease HDL (good cholesterol) 

It is also a:


Potent anti-oxidant (inhibits the oxidation of other molecules) Anticarcinogen (a substance that counteracts the effects of a carcinogen and/or inhibits the development of cancer) Anticatabolite (any substance that inhibits)

The downside:

In the end the research currently doesn’t support the use of CLA as means to achieve significant weight loss or loss of abdominal fat.Would I recommend the use of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)? 


No, given what I can interpret from the research it is not an effective weight loss or fat loss aid.  In fact the prevalence of diabetes and the over consumption of sugar it would appear that this CLA could even prove dangerous to some. The positives associated with CLA are also associated with eating healthier.   I would strongly recommend to spend your time and money on buying and prepping meals made with whole ingredients, minimally processed, and grass feed meats.  

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