A common misconception is that all types of fat are bad for the body. This claim cannot be further from the truth. In fact, our body needs fat as a source of energy. What we don’t need is are excessive fat deposits. Another false belief about fat is that it is all the same when there are actually two types. The first one is the fuel our body needs to perform while the second one contains several health benefits.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is part of the second group and comes with several health benefits. CLA is commonly found in beef and dairy products and has shown positive results when it comes to assisting our body to lose weight. If look at the weight loss supplement section at your local pharmacy you have likely seen CLA based supplements. Now, recent studies have shown that CLA may also offer more health benefits than initially thought.
Sources of CLA
CLA can be found in ruminants such as cow, sheep and goats. This is due to the fact that CLA is formed when vegetables are chemically altered by the animals that feed on them. If an animal primarily eats herbs and grass then you can bet that their meat will contain a good dose of CLA. The amount of CLA found in meat varies; a study showed that beef and dairy from animals that were exclusively grass fed contain 500% more CLA than grain fed animals.
If you are looking at CLA supplements as an alternative to beef and dairy be aware that the CLA contained in these products is not naturally made. CLA supplements are commonly chemically processed safflower and sunflower oil. Naturally, the vegetable oils found in these plants are unhealthy but thanks to a special chemical process the linoleic acid is transformed into conjugated linoleic acid.
Other Health Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Besides assisting the body in losing weight, what other health benefits does consuming CLA have? Well, studies are still being conducted but previous results have shown promise. There are studies showing people who consume CLA daily to be less at risk of developing type-2 diabetes and cancer.
Another study also showed that countries that consume beef from cows that exclusively eat grass have lower cases of heart disease. This can be linked to a higher concentration of natural CLA or due to grass fed animal products containing more vitamins such as K2.
Of course, it is always best to choose animal products that were naturally fed with grass rather than fed with artificially made grains as they will always contain more nutrients.
CLA is a type of fat that our body can greatly benefit from. It has proven to be an effective compound when it comes to cutting weight but it also shows other health benefits as well. Keep in mind the CLA supplements are chemically processed and if given the choice it’s always best to go for the natural version.