Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is billed as being the next big thing in weight and fat loss with supplement companies developing different products with impressive claims. But what is CLA and how does it work?
Here is the shocking news: CLA is actually a fat. But it is a good fat and is found naturally in lots of foods including red meat (beef, lamb) and dairy products including milk, yoghurt and cheeses. However the modern diet, which consists of processed foods, rarely contains enough of this essential fat according to scientists.
Studies have shown that increasing consumption of CLA can improve body composition and lean body mass. A study in the University of Wisconsin in 1997 showed that mice fed a CLA supplement gained 60-70% less fat than mice that were not. Other studies have shown that CLA can increase fat metabolism (the rate fat is burned at) in lab tests.
Increase CLA Intake to Burn Belly Fat and Excess Weight and Calories
The problem is that to consume the amount of CLA that scientists believe to be beneficial through natural diet would mean eating a lot of high calorie foods such as beef and dairy which would be contrary to weight loss goals. Some estimates indicate that you would need to eat over 500g of saturated fat just to achieve the 3.5 grams needed for weight loss.
Supplementation may be the best option. Supplements of CLA can be bought in gel capsules that contain concentrated amounts of Conjugated Linoleic Acid. These range in dose from 500-1000mg and so a few of these taken each day along with a good diet and exercise programme could give good results.
One aspect of CLA supplementation is that for CLA to work effectively in metabolism, there must be a good balance of essential fatty acids (EFA) in the diet. Sources of these include nuts and seeds. Supplements can also be used to increase EFA intake.
Is it Worth Supplementing CLA in the Diet to Lose Fat and Burn Calories
The science backing up the use of CLA to metabolise fat seems to be pretty sound and supplementation is definitely the way to go for the calorie conscious dieter. Supplements are also reasonably priced and so won’t leave too much of a dent in your pocket at the health store. As with all supplements, a good exercise programme and diet is essential to see the desired results of fat loss and calorie burning.