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Originally published October 4 2007

CLA found mildly effective at reducing body fat in meta-data analysis

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) A fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) may help reduce body fat mass in humans when taken as a dietary supplement, according to a meta-analysis led by Leah Whigham from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Whigham and colleagues examined the results of studies that looked at the effect of CLA supplementation on body composition. They found that CLA consumption led to a decrease in body fat of 24 grams (0.85 ounces) per gram of CLA consumed per week.

"Given at a dose of 3.2 grams per day, CLA produces a modest loss in body fat in humans," the researchers wrote.

CLA is a trans fat, but one that occurs naturally in the fat of ruminants such as cows, goats, sheep and deer -- in contrast to most trans fats, which are industrially produced. It may be produced by microorganisms in ruminant stomachs, or by the human body upon consumption of ruminant fat. Because of its chemical composition, CLA does not have to be labeled as a trans fat under U.S. law.

While a variety of health benefits have been ascribed to CLA, and it is available in supplement form, some scientists also have some health concerns about the fatty acid, claiming that use of CLA may lead to insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes.

The international market for weight loss and management products is now estimated at $7 billion. Approximately 62 percent of people in the United States are classified as overweight, along with 50 percent of Europeans. The International Obesity Task Force estimates that the number of overweight people worldwide will soon top two billion, or more than 30 percent of the global population.

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