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CLA and Fat Loss: Is the Link True or Just Marketing?

May 15, 2023Weight Loss0 comments

CLA is easily one of the most popular fitness supplements. According to fitness experts, it can help with weight loss and muscle growth. I’ve reviewed whether these benefits are real or not. But, how do CLA and fat loss relate?

Weight loss and fat loss are somewhat different phenomena. You can’t lose weight without losing excess fat. But, you can lose excess fat without losing weight. For instance, some people replace that weight with muscle.

But, can CLA make you lose fat? Let’s see if that’s true or just another marketing bluff.

First off, what is CLA, exactly?

CLA stands for “conjugated linoleic acid.” And, it’s an omega-6 fatty acid type. It became popular as a weight loss and sports supplement. Studies suggest it can help burn fat, build muscle, and increase energy.

However, its use is somewhat controversial. CLA’s benefits have been “proven” and “disproven” by multiple studies. Some find promising results, and others find nothing. Plus, some experts have found it can be harmful. But, that last one is mainly for large doses.

CLA is a modified form of linoleic acid. The “conjugated” part of the name refers to the fatty acid’s double bonds. These are arranged in multiple ways. And, said arrangements translate into 28 CLA types, with different properties.

How do CLA and fat loss interact?

Some studies suggest that CLA affects body fat and tumor development. The linked study fed high-fat and low-fat diets to different mice. The same goes for adding CLA or not. The study lasted six weeks.

The researchers found that CLA significantly decreased energy intake. The same goes for the following factors:

  • Growth rate.
  • Adipose depot weight.
  • Carcass lipid/protein content.

The mice’s diet composition didn’t alter the results. Specifically, the adipose depot weight reduction ranged between 43% and 88%. Moreover, the mice’s metabolic rate increased considerably.

The study concludes that CLA and fat loss rely on various mechanisms. These mechanisms include:

  • Reducing energy intake.
  • Increasing the metabolic rate.
  • Shifting nocturnal fuel mix.

Does that mean CLA can help with weight loss?

Well, as I mentioned, it’s complicated.

CLA started as a potential cancer treatment in mice. With time, its effects on body fats became more popular. Today, CLA is among the most-studied supplements around the world. So, we know CLA may reduce fat in the aforementioned ways.

Randomized controlled trials have also tested CLA extensively. Some studies suggest that CLA and fat loss do share a link. Increasing muscle mass is another reported benefit of CLA.

Nonetheless, not all studies agree. Other studies show zero effects or modest fat loss.

That said,

an 18-trial review

shows promising potential. For six months, people may lose 0.2 pounds (0.09 kg) weekly on average. Other studies have found higher weight loss.

The mechanism behind CLA and fat loss

Verywell Fit also goes through CLA’s action mechanisms.

The main mechanism relates to fat metabolism. CLA appears to increase how much fat we use for energy. Plus, it limits how much fat we store in our bodies. Through all of this, it also helps preserve muscle mass.

Moreover, the article mentions a study that suggested CLA could reduce leptin secretion. Leptin is one of the hormones that helps you feel satiated. The study suggests that this means it could aid weight loss. But, reducing leptin should, theoretically, increase appetite.

The holistic takeaway

cla and fat loss - woman holding a pant bigger than her suggesting her weight loss

CLA is one of the most popular weight loss supplements for a reason. Countless studies have turned it into one of the most-researched supplements. Unfortunately, countless studies contradict each other.

The consensus for CLA and fat loss points out one main benefit. CLA appears to burn more fat while promoting muscle growth. Additionally, it causes your body to store less fat.

If you want to try CLA, I have a great recommendation. Lean Belly 3x has become my favorite CLA supplement. It employs a simple formula to minimize side effects. So, it’s a fairly risk-free way to boost your weight loss.


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