Despite its chemical-sounding name, CLA or conjugated linoleic acid is not artificial. It is found in many naturally occurring foods, especially meat and dairy products. It can be extracted from those products or created in the laboratory to be taken as a supplement.
CLA supplements are often recommended for men who want to build muscle mass while losing fat. They appear to work by converting mass into lean body tissue. People who take them without making other changes in their diet might be more likely to see results in the mirror and in clothes sizes without necessarily seeing a change in the numbers on the scale. This is because muscle weighs heavier than fat, although it has less bulk, so we look thinner even if we stay the same weight.
Anybody wanting to lose weight can benefit from having a leaner body. It is healthier and it also increases the metabolism, so we are likely to burn more calories. But most dieters want to reduce their weight too.
The best way to use CLA supplements is to take them at the same time as you follow a healthy eating plan. It could be a low fat diet, a calorie controlled diet or any type of weight loss plan that you can stick to. That way you are likely to lose weight as well as reducing body fat.
Experts agree that the most important issue in choosing a weight loss plan is finding one that you can be happy with for the long term. Crash diets do not work because as soon as they finish, most people return to their old eating habits. The only way to lose weight permanently is to change your eating habits and avoid the yoyo dieting trap.
There has been plenty of research aiming to show how conjugated linoleic acid works. The Journal of Nutrition published a study finding that subjects taking CLA supplements lost an average of 6 more pounds of body fat than a control group taking a placebo.
How much conjugated linoleic acid can you take? The researchers in this study found that the best level of supplementation was 3.4 grams of CLA. There was no increased effect from having more than this.
CLA supplements can have other beneficial effects too. A study at Purdue University in Indiana found that CLA had a positive effect on insulin levels in diabetics, as well as reducing their blood glucose level and triglyceride levels slightly. Of course, it is important to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.
There is no magic pill that will spirit away 50 or 100 pounds of excess weight overnight, but if you are willing to commit to a healthier way of eating, CLA may help you to lose body fat and achieve your goals sooner than you would without it. CLA supplements are most effective when used after consultation with your doctor alongside your diet plan to boost your fat loss while you lose weight.