CLA: A Fat That Fights Fat

CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid, is the primary omega 6 fatty acid. It's found naturally in beef, dairy products and vegetable oils, but not in amounts significant enough to promote body composition changes. In the fitness world, supplementing with CLA is thought to help build lean muscle while reducing body fat. A Norwegian study* undertaken in 2000 found that supplementing with 3.5 to 6.8 grams of CLA daily produced significant body fat loss in overweight and obese subjects. Other studies suggest that the results can be amplified with regular physical exercise.

How does this fat fighting fat work? Instead of make a large fat cell get smaller, CLA helps prevent small fat cells from getting bigger. Some scientists believe that CLA accomplishes this by enhancing insulin sensitivity and increasing metabolic rates.

Years ago, the typical American dieter had the mindset of avoiding fat at all costs. Low-fat and fat free were the way to go. Then along came the zone diet and people started realizing that fatty acids could play an essential role in weight maintenance. In terms of overall fitness, I know that just about everything can and oftentimes should be used in moderation, including fats and fatty acids. As is the case with carbohydrates, there are good and bad fats. CLA appears to be among the best. Due to the popularity of the CLA Softgels that ON makes with CLA One, a new economy sized 180-count container has just been introduced. It's available right now at your favorite retailer.

JASON A. PHILLIPS, CPT
ON Athlete

* Journal of Nutrition. 2000;130:2943-2948
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