Popular Dietary Supplement Helps to Keep Fat Off

Oct 1, 2000

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are saying a popular dietary supplement has been proven to reduce the amount of fat many dieters regain after losing weight.

Forcing Fat Cells to Stay Small

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), according to the Wisconsin researchers, promotes muscle gain over fat. It does this by blocking fat cells that want to get big.

Michael Pariza, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told Reuters Heath that CLA forces fat cells to stay small, perhaps by inhibiting the key enzymes that cause fat cells to grow. Pariza presented the results of his research at an August meeting of the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C.

Pariza and a team of researchers put 71 obese individuals on a reduced-calorie diet and a moderate exercise program. One group of 35 people took about three grams of CLA daily—one gram at each meal—while the other group took a sunflower oil placebo. After six months, both the CLA and placebo groups lost about five pounds. Pariza claims, however, that CLA did not contribute to the weight loss. Instead, after the dieters stopped dieting, those taking CLA were more likely to gain muscle and not fat.

No Adverse Side Effects

No adverse side effects were observed in those taking CLA. The researchers note that those taking CLA experienced less depression and upset stomachs.

CLA occurs naturally in dairy products and meat, but not in the amounts the researchers used for their study.

Other Research Using CLA

Reuters reports that another CLA study, conducted at Purdue University in Indiana, demonstrated CLA's effectiveness in controlling type 2 diabetes. In the study, 64 percent of 22 patients with type 2 showed improvement in their insulin levels over an eight-week test.

According to lead researcher Martha Belury of Northwest Hospital in Seattle, patients also showed a decrease in triglyceride levels.

CLA is not a FDA-approved dietary supplement.

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