Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) Review

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a Omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils that have been shown in some studies to cause fat loss. It is also believed by some to have other health benefits. It is also an antioxidant and may have cancer-fighting properties such as lowering the risk of colorectal cancer and breast cancer, but more research is needed. Other possible benefits may be helping with dry skin and multiple sclerosis but the jury is still out on if it actually helps with these also. It can be taken in a pill form. There is no standard dose for CLA but dosages range from 1 gram to 3.4 grams daily (Keifer, 2014). Of the 28 different forms of CLA two are believed to be the most important for weight loss. These are “c9, t11” and “t10, c12”.

CLA is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, with both cis and trans double bonds so it is technically a natural type of trans fat. CLA sources are cows, goats and sheep. CLA from these animals is 300 – 500% higher if the animals are grass-fed instead of grain fed. Average intake in the U.S. is 151 mg per day from women and 212 mg from men (Gunnars, 2014).

Possible benefits shown from studies are increased fat burning, appetite suppression, stimulating fat breakdown and inhibiting the production. Some studies have also shown increases in muscle mass.

However, when taken in large doses studies have shown detrimental side effects such as increased accumulation of fat in the liver which can lead to metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Other side effects could be inflammation, insulin resisance, lower HDL (the good cholesterol), diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and flatulence.

Doctors don’t recommend CLA for pregnant women, breastfeeding women or children. Also, if you are taking any medications you should check with your doctor for possible drug interaction problems especially if taking drugs for schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

Gunnars, Kris, 2015 CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid): A Detailed Review, Authority Nutrition,

Keifer, David, 2014, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), WebMD,

Herb Gymnema may aid in weight loss

The herb Gymnema, which is a wood climbing shrub native to Africa and India, may aid in the loss of weight by blocking sugar absorption and tampering cravings for sugar, which is a major contributor to weight gain. Increases in the amount of insulin and increases in the growth of cells in the pancrease which is where insulin is made in the body may occur when taking Gymnema, and may help stave off weight gain.

Department of Biotechnology, 2012, The Saponin-Rich Fraction of a Gymnema sylvestre R. Br. Aqueuous leaf extract reduces cafeteria and high-fat diet-induced obesity,Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati India,

Group, Edward, 2015, Top 5 herbs for weight loss, global healing center,, 2015, Insulin and weight gain: Keep the pounds off,, 2015, Find a vitamin or supplement – Gymnema,,

Yogurt can be a healthy alternative to other snacks

Eating yogurt in place of other unhealthy snacks can help you lose weight and build muscle. Keep in mind though that all yogurts are not created equal. A serving of Greek yogurt can contain up to 20 grams of protein. Some less healthy yogurts can contain less than 8 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. I would look for yogurts with 10 grams or more of protein and 20 grams or less of sugar. The calcium in yogurt can also signals your fat cells to produce less cortisol, making it easier for you to lose weight. Another benefit is yogurt often contains good bacteria that helps your digestive tract stave off intestinal infections and strengthen your immune system. For some of the more ambitious, you may want to make your own healthy yogurt. There are all sorts of recipes available depending on you personal tastes.

Vitamin D – Helpful in Burning Fat

According to Women’s Health certain nutrients can be helpful in burning fat and accelerating weight loss. Vitamin D can activate and switch and internally signal your cells to burn calories. Michael B. Zemel, PhD, who is the director of the Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville explained that when levels of vitamin D are low, parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels rise triggering a reactions that cause fat cells to convert sugar into fat and maintaining fat rather than releasing it to be burned. Also, vitamin D helps your body respond to insulin which is a hormone secreted from your pancreas. Insulin pushes glucose into cells. Glucose in body cells are burned for energy. So, the more sensitive your body cells are to insulin then the more glucose can be pushed into your bodies cells and burned. When you are less sensitive to insulin then the more likely you are to convert sugar to fat. Another aspect of vitamin D that is important is low levels of vitamin D interfere with leptin, which is a hormone that signals your brain that you are full and to stop eating, causing you to continue to eat.

Sunlight can provide vitamin D, however, too much sunlight can be bad as it may lead to skin cancer so it should be taken in moderation. Foods containing vitamin D cod liver oil – 1 tablespoon provides 1,360 IU’s, 3 ounces of cooked salmon 447 IU’s, milk 1 cup gives 115-124 IU’s. A table of foods and vitamin IU’s totals can be seen at Vitamin D Health Professionals A table is also available there for age/sex for the recommended daily allowances for vitamin D.

Women’sHealth, 2015, 7 Supplements that Melt Fat,

National Institutes of Health, 2015, Vitamin D Fact Sheet of Health Professionals,

6 Meals a Day vs. 3 Meals a Day

Contrary to what I’ve always heard 3 meals may be just as good for your weight loss as 6 meals. Two studies eating the same amount of calories over 6 meals instead of 3 meals doesn’t help lose weight by upping your metabolism. According to Kristen Kirkpatrick Rd the best way to lose weight is to cut the number of calories eaten each day. In fact eating 6 meals a day may actually cause you to gain weight from creating a desire for a person to eat more (Paturel, 2015).
Paturel, Amy, 2015, 6 Meals a day for weight loss, Aug. 18, 2015

Forming the habit of going to the gym

It seems the less you work out the less you want to work out, and the more you go to the gym the more you want to go to the gym. I have noticed over the years whenever I need to get back in shape the hardest part is simply forming the habit of working out again. So whenever I try to start up again. I have found it very useful to start very slowly with easy workouts then after about 3 weeks I am back in the habit of going to the gym and feel more like pushing myself. Many people often when starting to workout again really push themselves when they first start and then dread going back in. The gains will only come so quick so going hardcore from the very beginning doesn’t really help much more physically then just starting slowly with easy workouts. Also if you go hardcore in the beginning you are much more likely to experience and injury and then not be able to exercise that body part or exercise at all. Also, even if you are starting with easy workouts often you will start improving your eating habits which is also import. Diet combined with exercise is the best way to get the changes in your body that you are looking for. Working out too hard in the beginning, I don’t believe is a good way of starting out considering the dread of the gym and the more likely hood of quitting. Proper diet and exercise really needs to be long term and a change of lifestyle.

Exercise – New Year’s Resolution

A combination of diet and exercise is the best way to lose weight and get in shape.  As the New Year rolls around many people like to make their New Year’s resolution a promise to get into better shape.  For those who have been going to the gym over several years I’m sure they have  noticed the big jump in the number of people suddenly attending the gym in January.  Then over the next few months watch the numbers drop off and return to normal by about March.  I have always felt many people try to start of with their exercise programs in a way that isn’t sustainable.  The key is to incorporate a work out program that one would be able to continue and make a part of a person’s life and live a more healthy lifestyle.  Gains will take time but if one can form the habit of exercise a person can definitely change the way an individual looks and feels over time.  I believe one important key is to start slowly and have the initial work outs somewhat simple to just start to form the habit.  After a few weeks when the base habit of going to the gym has become part of one’s routine then make it a bit harder, but not so hard that one dreads going to the gym.  You want to enjoy the gym experience and look forward to it, not dread it.  Also, I have a little pre gym ritual that I really enjoy doing.  It involves a protein drink, music and little mental psych.  You may want to start a little tradition for yourself.  Realistic goals and expectations are important.  Keep in mind that you are always slowly working toward ones goals.  Everyone misses work outs, but if you can get back in the gym, after just a couple of work outs you will feel like you are back in the swing of things and working toward you goals again.  Often I set a goals such as looking great for a special occasion such as a wedding, going to the beach or getting into a sexy Halloween costume.  Whatever you goal is, it is important to have goals and give yourself time to accomplish them.

Quit Drinking Cokes and Soda

Cutting sodas and Cokes out of your diet can be a difficult task. But just think, if you currently are drinking just one soda a day your intake of calories for that one Coke for one day is 140 calories or 4200 calories for the month (140 x 30 days). There are 3500 calories per pound of body weight, drinking 1 Coke a day you would consume 1.2 pounds per month of body fat or 14.4 pounds of body fat a year. Many people drink 2+ sodas a day.  So, to get rid of that 140 calorie soda you drank that day you would have to jog on the treadmill about 15 minutes.  One would think it would be much easier just not to drink it.  However, cutting soda from the diet is no easy task since many contain caffeine.  Personally, what has worked best for me was to cut down my Coke intake to 1 a day, and then once I was able to do that, then move on to just treating myself to one occasionally.  I must admit though, I do drink coffee which helps cut the craving for the caffeine created from getting the soda out of my diet.  Please share some of your thoughts and ways you have found to quit drinking sodas and Cokes.

Night Snack

Lately, I have started eating a healthier snack at night and have been able to trim off some more fat from my body. The snack consists of spinach, walnuts and a glass of milk. The spinach only has 3 grams of carbohydrates (no sugar) and 2 grams of protein with no fat per serving size. Although, I eat less than one serving according to the package. The walnuts do have 19 grams of fat per serving, but only 2 of those grams of fat are saturated and there are no trans fats. The walnuts do give you 4 grams of protein and only 4 grams of carbohydrates with less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. I feel this is a big improvement over me eating cookies every night and I do think it is contributing to my fat loss.

Help people diet and lose weight in a healthy way

Getting fit and having a nice healthy weight is the goal of many people.  I personally have strived for this since I was 17 years old.  Over the years, off and on I have read magazines, exercised, tried different diets and taken a wide variety of supplements.  For me learning about my own body has really paid off.  It seems like I have taken different exercise programs, diets and supplement suggestions to try to create my own program.  I feel everyone has a different body type, needs and desires.  Understanding ones own body, I think may be the most important variable in creating the body that one strives for.  I am pushing 50 now and have seen products, programs and ideas come into vogue, morph and be shown to be worthless.  In the 80′s protein tasted like chalk.  I had a college nutrition class that basically said any extra protein was a waste.  Later, it was said, perhaps protein does work.  Coffee has went back and forth as demon to a cancer fighter.   I am sure as new science continues to unfold, pros and cons will come to to the forefront of various supplements, diets and exercise programs as new methods and plans are developed.  The goal here is to find, discuss and evaluate through personal experience what new products, programs and ideas work or don’t work. Quite honestly, trying to live a clean, healthy life has greatly affected my happiness.  Although, I must admit many times throughout my life I have let myself go and fallen out of shape.  But, I have always fought to try to come back to what I consider the healthy side of life and always been happy when I have.  Whenever, I have started my way back to being healthy I always start back slow with baby steps and have slowly formed the habit again.  You can’t run a marathon if you can’t run 1 mile.  As long as you are on the path, it feels good to just get started and start to form the habit.  I have so many friends that started soooo hard core and then hated the experience and quit.  To me the most important thing has always been, just start on the path ever so slowly, but form the habit, then slowly build from there.   Anyway, please post any experience, personal knowledge, ideas or questions you might have.