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Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Review – Does It Work For Weight Loss?

By Rob Poulos...

Although many of the substances found in weight loss supplements are concentrated doses of what our bodies produce naturally, some supplements contain ingredients that are not found within the human body. These substances require a closer look to make sure they are safe for ingestion and can produce the results promised.

One such element is conjugated linoleic acid, frequently called CLA. This is mostly found in dairy and meat products that come from cud chewing mammals, so chances are good that those of us not on a vegetarian diet get a significant amount of CLA in our diets already.

Since it is found in very common foods, let’s take a deeper look a conjugated linoleic acid to see what it can do to help us slim down.

About CLA

Conjugated linoleic acid serves a wide variety of purposes within the human body. As an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory this substance can help fight toxins within the body and reduce the risk of certain illnesses like heart disease and stroke.

Many believe however that the make up of CLA makes it ideal for fat loss for a number of reasons. CLA can help convert fat to energy and reduce the size of fat cells. In fact, it has been widely touted as the perfect supplement for weight loss. This fatty acid also aids in blocking the absorption of sugar and fat into adipocytes, also known as fat cells.

[Foods with CLA can give you what you need without side effects.]

Sources Of Conjugated Linoleic Acid

There are plenty of food sources from which conjugated linoleic acid can be ingested into the body so that additional supplements are not necessary. Beef, lamb, kangaroo, milk, eggs and mushrooms are some of the best dietary sources of CLA around.

The levels of CLA found in cows and other animals have decreased significantly since their diets were switched from predominantly grass to grains. Although grain-fed animals still yield CLA, those fed grass can produce 300 to 500% more than those on a grain diet.

To maximize your CLA intake through milk, you will have to drink milk with the most fat, which would be whole milk or vitamin D milk. So those of you who are religious skim or 1% milk drinkers, you’re not getting nearly enough CLA to receive the benefits.

So if you want to use this substance to treat obesity you will need to look for meat and dairy products from grass fed animals rather than grain fed.

CLA Side Effects

For the most part taking conjugated linoleic acid is safe, especially if you get it mostly from food sources. However when taken as a supplement the dosages tend to be higher than those found in food and that is when negative side effects could occur.

[Diet & exercise can give you amazing results without the side effects!]

If you take CLA supplements that come in greater dosages than those found in food you could suffer from nausea, upset stomach, fatigue and nausea. If you are pregnant, diabetic or breast feeding you should check with your doctor first, but it has been shown to be safe to consume it through food.

Does It Work For Weight Loss

You probably would love a definitive answer on how well conjugated linoleic acid works for weight loss but the answer unfortunately is maybe. CLA can work for weight loss depending on how overweight you are. One of the most promising CLA studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who had a body mass index of 25 to 30 were able to reduce body fat mass and increase lean mass over the course of a year but mass not weight was the aim of the study.

If you are a person who falls in the healthy overweight range, that is a body mass index higher than 24 but less than 31then a conjugated linoleic acid supplement will only produce minimal fat mass loss.

Interestingly enough however, CLA has been found effective for athletes to help improve lean body mass. It has been found more effective in changing body composition than it has for reducing body weight. Because it can reduce fat mass and increase lean mass, at best you can hope for weight loss of about 90 grams per week which comes to about 1 pound lost every 5 weeks.

However because lean mass burns more calories than fat body mass, it is likely that weight loss will occur due to an increase in resting metabolic rate. The best results have been found in those who are obese, that is with a body mass index over 30, likely because they have more fat mass to get rid of.

When combined with a healthy diet plan and regular physical activity a CLA supplement can help as long as you take it in the recommend dosages of no more than 3.2 grams per day.

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