Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) exploded onto the diet and nutrition scene recently because of stories appearing on the Dr. Oz program and other various health-related shows, as well as websites.
Scientists have been performing studies on CLA to measure its beneficial effects on health and so far the results have been promising.
Here are some of the health benefits studies have shown:
- CLA helps reduce inflammation that contributes to obesity
- CLA prevents bone loss due to aging
- CLA prevents muscle loss due to aging
- CLA better controls blood pressure
- CLA helps lower blood sugar levels
- CLA reduces harmful lipoproteins in the blood
- CLA promotes anti-cancer effects by inhibiting breast cancer cell growth
Although many studies are still done on animals… various human studies confirm that CLA definitely enhances fat loss by preventing human fat cells from getting larger.
So what is CLA?
CLA is a group of good trans-fats that’s produced by grass-eating animals like cows, sheep and goats. Now, I know you’ve been told to stay away from trans-fats because it’s bad for you, but CLA is completely different.
Although CLA is trans-fat, it’s chemical structure is different from other trans-fats. The CLA molecule is “conjugated” which means they have a mix of single and double atomic bonds. This “conjugation” is what makes CLA different from other trans-fats, and it’s what makes this trans-fat very beneficial to your health.
Where to get CLA
The digestive tracts of these grass eating animals contain billions of beneficial bacteria that help the animals digest food, and in the process they produce CLA. So CLA, in its natural state, is found in full-fat, raw grass-fed milk.
Unfortunately in the US, most dairy products are pasteurized to kill off potentially harmful bacteria, but along the way it also kills off all the healthy enzymes and greatly diminishes the amount of CLA in milk. It’s interesting to note that, although most states in the U.S. do not allow raw milk for health reasons, many European countries promote the consumption of raw milk because of it’s many health benefits.
If you can’t consume raw milk, because your state doesn’t allow it (or perhaps you don’t feel that it’s safe) another great source of CLA comes from grass-fed meat. Unfortunately, they’re a little harder to come by, because most cows in the US are grain-fed and injected with antibiotics & hormones due it’s poor farming conditions. And even the cows that are raised in better conditions, that aren’t given antibiotics or hormones, are also fed grains…mainly for economic purposes.
Now if you can get you hands on grass-fed meat, it’ll be more expensive but they’re much healthier for you and it’s your best source of CLA. Plus, just knowing that you’ll be able to eat a big fat juicy steak without feeling guilty, because you’re actually promoting your body to burn fat, might be worth the extra money.
And if you don’t have access to grass-fed meat in your area, this company delivers all kinds of grass-fed meat right to your door steps. They even have grass-fed dairy products like butter and cheese along with organic produce. I’ve been using this company for sometime now and they’re awesome!
But if eating grass fed meat or drinking raw milk isn’t your thing, you can get CLA supplements in pill and powder form. And you can also find several pasteurized milk and yogurt products, as well as some health bars, meal replacement shakes and soy milk that add CLA. That being said, the quality of CLA can vary substantially, and since much of the added CLA is chemically derived, I would be very careful before your buy any CLA enriched products or supplements. When in doubt it’s always best to get CLA from real food!
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