There are various types of fats, but basically there are two major groups. The first group contains fats that simply can be used for energy, and the second group contains fats that besides act as energy sources they also have powerful health benefits. Conjugated Linoleic Acid or CLA is a fatty acid that can be found in the second group. This healthy fat can be found naturally in dairy products and beef.
Speaking about fats, most people will think that they’re causing weight gain and obesity, but not with CLA. This fatty acid has been proven in many studies to be able to cause weight loss by reducing fat deposits inside the body. That’s why today, Conjugated Linoleic Acid has become one of the most popular types of weight loss supplement.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
Linoleic acid is an Omega-6 fatty acid that mostly can be found in vegetable oils. Actually there are also various other types of foods that contain Linoleic Acid, but usually in small amounts only. The word “Conjugated” itself correlates with the arrangement of the double bonds within the molecule of the fatty acid. In total, there are 28 different forms of Conjugated Linoleic Acid, but the most important ones are called the “t10, c12” and “c9, t11”. All these forms of Linoleic Acid are technically trans fats, however these are so much different than industrial trans fats.
CLA is a natural trans fat found in various healthy foods, that’s why it’s completely healthy, unlike industrial trans fats that are harmful for your health.
Natural Sources of Conjugated Linoleic Acid
As said before, Conjugated Linoleic Acid can be found in ruminant animals, such as cows, sheep and goats. The amount of CLA found in these animals varies greatly depends on their diets. For example, beef and dairy coming from cows that are grass-fed have much higher level of CLA (up to 300-500%) when compared to those coming from cows that are grain-fed.
Another common sources for CLA are vegetable oils, mostly derived from safflower or sunflower. This is the type of Conjugated Linoleic Acid you can find in dietary supplements, such as the CLA Safflower Oil.