Chances are you’ve heard about CLA and its impressive weight loss benefits.
As a personal trainer and nutritionist, I’m all about finding effective and researched-backed supplements to aid in weight loss.
Let’s dive in a little deeper to why CLA and weight loss go hand in hand.
(And to learn more about the best CLA for weight loss, click here!)
What is CLA?
CLA is short for conjugated linoleic acid. It’s a naturally occurring fatty acid that’s normally found in meat and dairy products, especially the grass-fed variety. It’s also found in eggs and some variety of mushrooms. It’s become popular as a weight loss supplement because of promising research showing its effectiveness in reducing body fat.
Sounds fancy and confusing right? Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems! The truth is CLA is simply a healthy fat that helps your body burn fat!
HOLD UP. A fat, that helps you burn fat? Sounds a little contradictory right?
Here’s a fun fact. fat doesn’t make you fat. Yes, there are some types of fat you should always avoid (I’m looking at you trans fat!), but fat is actually an essential part of any diet. You need fat for a healthy brain, metabolism, and for hormone production.
Is CLA for Weight Loss? What Does CLA Do For Your Body?
CLA has been shown to have several benefits, even beyond weight loss!
CLA Benefits Include:
- Supporting weight loss
- Aid in reducing body fat
- Supporting a healthy immune system
- Assisting in normal blood sugar control
- Supporting a healthy heart
- Help with Increasing lean muscle
Probably the most common reason why CLA is now so popular is its ability to reduce fat and aid in weight loss.
I’m usually skeptical about things that have these sort of claims, but CLA actually has research to back it up as a potent weight loss helper!
According to a report from The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in 2009, CLA can reduce body fat by affecting energy metabolism, reducing the number and size of fat cells, and speeding up the disintegration of fat cells.
Another study compared Conjugated Linoleic Acid with a placebo pill and at the end of 12 weeks, “Body fat, measured using near infrared light, was significantly reduced in the CLA group during the study, but not in the placebo group.”
Pretty cool right?
Keep in mind that these studies that showed CLA was effective for weight loss, they were over a long period of time. There’s no magic, overnight weight loss pill, but CLA can boost your weight loss efforts over time!
What Are CLA Side Effects?
There can be some CLA side effects, but only if you take too much! Most side effects are mild and include upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and fatigue.
More concerning risks of too much CLA include a fatty liver or even lowering your “good” cholesterol.
Just take the recommended doses for CLA and you shouldn’t have any problems. Like anything in life, there can be too much of a good thing!
How to Take CLA
You can get natural CLA from your diet. The best sources are grass fed beef and butter. However, you’d have to eat quite a bit of grass fed meat and dairy to get the same benefits as you would from a supplement. To put it into perspective, you’d have to consume nearly 4,000 calories of grass fed meat to get the CLA needed to actually be effective!
My favorite way to get Conjugated Linoleic Acid is by taking it as a supplement, CLA pills! It’s easier and less expensive for me to get what I need to stay lean with a convenient pill rather than eating lots of meat and butter. (Fewer calories too!)
A CLA supplement is a convenient and easy way to get the benefits of CLA. Plus, the CLA in supplements comes from plant sources like safflower oil. The CLA pills are very easy to bring everywhere with you.
You’ll be able to control how much you get and ensure you’re getting it every day. This is important because to really see the benefits of CLA, you have to be consistent with taking it!