Question: Can CLA help me lose weight and is it a safe diet pill to use?
Answer: Yes, CLA can assist you in your weight loss journey. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a substance naturally found mostly in meat and dairy products. CLA was first investigated in the late 1970’s for its anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties and claims with regards to these properties are reasonably well supported by scientific studies. In July 2008, the FDA issued a letter awarding CLA Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for certain food categories; including fluid milk, yoghurt, meal replacement shakes and nutritional bars. This means that the well managed addition of CLA to these products is regarded as a safe practice by the FDA.
Results of more than 30 clinical trials have been published regarding weight loss and CLA – all designed to assess the impact of CLA on fat mass. The varying designs and objectives of these studies complicate the overall findings somewhat, but the general consensus appears to be that CLA can indeed assist in reducing fat mass (especially belly fat) while simultaneously increasing lean muscle mass. It must be noted that CLA can only work as a weight loss aid in addition to a healthy, balanced nutrition and exercise plan; and is not expected to be very effective on its own.
Preliminary studies indicate that there may be a basis for some of the health concerns raised with regards to excessive use of CLA, namely increased risk of insulin resistance and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. The actual health risks to humans is still far from established. Scientists currently appear to be in agreement that foods naturally enriched with CLA are safe, but are still hesitant to declare CLA supplements safe for use in humans.
In answer to your question on whether CLA is a safe weight loss supplement then…our take on this based on the information available to us at this time would be that CLA supplements, provided that you choose products manufactured by reputable suppliers should be safe to use as long as you don’t exceed the suggested dosage. It is unclear to us what the difference would be between taking a CLA supplement and getting your share of CLA in the form of an additive to a meal replacement shake or a nutrition bar.