Losing Weight With CLA
A growing number of American dieters who take nutritional supplements containing the fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) believe this latest weight-loss trend has real substance. They have found that, when used in conjunction with a regimented plan of diet and exercise, CLA not only reduces body fat but also increases muscle strength and exercise endurance. Now science has stepped in to explore CLA’s too-good-to-be-true health claims — and CLA has stood up to the skeptics. CLA is related to the omega-6 fatty acids, one of the two types of essential fatty acids that help the body increase metabolic rates, boost the immune system and keep cholesterol levels in check. CLA is found in dairy and animal fats, such as beef, lamb, whole milk, and eggs, but cannot be produced by the human body.
Most of the studies conclude that a person needs to take 3.4 grams of CLA (3,400 mg) daily to receive its benefits. (The amounts used in many of the studies were two to three times higher, but the treatment period was only 12 weeks.) In order for your body to get maximum use from its properties, it is ideal to take CLA before or during your meals.
CLA is thought to be a natural dietary supplement that induces a combination of fat loss and muscle gain. The benefits of conjugated linoleic acid are believed to include:
- Decrease in fat
- Increase in muscle growth
- Increase in metabolic rate
- Protects against fat gain following weight loss, thus maintaining initial reductions in body fat and weight, in the long-term.
- May lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Negative effects of CLA are thought to include the triggering of insulin resistance (leading to high blood sugar), thus increasing risk of developing diabetes and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. Thus, one should be cautious when using conjugated linoleic acid supplements. Pregnant or lactating women should probably refrain from taking CLA completely.
Some people report feeling nauseous after taking their conjugated linoleic acid and more rarely gastrointestinal upset or loose stools. These side effects are typically reduced when the product is taken with protein (e.g. milk), and tend lessen roughly 2 weeks after commencing CLA supplementation.
If you intend to supplement with conjugated linoleic acid to help with weight loss, remember that that it is not a magic pill. You will need to incorporate it into a weight loss program that includes a healthy nutritious reduced calorie diet and regular vigorous exercise, in order to successfully lose weight and keep it off.
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.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that CLA is not a magic drug. It will not make up for poor eating habits or lack of exercise.
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