Part one in our series on Fat Flushing supplements.
A powerful tool for dieters, CLA—or conjugated linoleic acid—offers profound fat loss and healing benefits. This necessary fatty acid helps reduce body fat while retaining lean muscle mass and is an important building block for cellular growth. Before the 1970s, Americans didn’t need to worry about supplementing their diets with CLA since dairy products and meats contained ample amounts naturally.
But, today—because livestock is no longer grass fed—our intake of CLA has dropped by 80 percent. People who have shied away from eating meat and dairy products because of their fat content have further compounded this deficiency. Fortunately, researchers discovered a way to create CLA from the linoleic acid found in sunflower and safflower oils, allowing CLA to be available in a convenient capsule form.
Why is CLA such a boon to waist watchers? Study after study has shown its effectiveness in reducing body fat. The Journal of Nutrition published the results of the first human clinical trial using CLA, which showed a dramatic 20 percent decrease in body fat, with an average loss of 7 pounds of fat in the group taking CLA. These results were achieved without a single change in dietary habits, establishing CLA supplementation as a simple, effortless weight loss tool.
Another clinical trial, conducted at the University of Wisconsin, assessed the effects of CLA on the body composition of 80 obese men and women. All the participants dieted for several months, lost weight, and then returned to their old eating habits. While the group taking CLA did regain some weight, they put the pounds back on in a ratio of half fat to half lean muscle, compared with 75 percent fat to 25 percent muscle for the control group. This evidence suggests that CLA increases lean muscle mass and results in a stronger, healthier body.
And the benefits of CLA don’t stop at weight loss. Over the past two decades, researchers have found that CLA also modulates the immune response, protects against heart disease, and inhibits the growth of various cancers. It may also prevent and control adult onset diabetes—a disease running rampant in our overweight country. And, because it helps prevent bone loss, CLA may also be a potent agent for preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. The message is clear: Along with a balanced diet and a daily exercise program, CLA can help you fight disease and pare off the pounds.
Just the Facts
• CLA was first discovered in 1987 by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
• CLA permeates muscles cells, where it has been shown to increase muscle mass by as much as 5 percent.
• You’d need to eat 6 pounds of steak or 50 slices of Colby cheese to receive the same amount of conjugated linoleic acid found in most CLA dietary supplement products. I personally recommend CLA-1000, which contains 600 mg of CLA per serving.
Boost the Benefits
• Occasionally, people find that if they take CLA close to bedtime they have trouble falling asleep. I recommend that you experiment and see how your body reacts. Most people can take CLA after a late dinner and have no problems sleeping.
• It’s best to avoid taking CLA with fiber supplements or high-fiber meals because the fiber may absorb some of the CLA. For best results, take CLA an hour or so after a high-fiber meal or fiber supplements.
• For weight management, most people report noticeable results after taking CLA for about 6 weeks.