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Weight Loss Supplements: Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Using a type of fat as a weight loss supplement might sound counterintuitive. But it might work, too. Conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid that occurs naturally in small amounts in dairy products and red meat, is a diet supplement that may work, but can also have some concerning side effects. 

Some studies have found that CLA diet supplements can help you lose body fat and increase lean body mass. When a group of overweight people took 3.2 grams of CLA each day for six months, they lost more body fat than people taking a placebo and gained less holiday weight during the winter months.

Many experts are calling for more clinical studies to learn more about the effectiveness and safety of CLA as a weight loss supplement. What’s the best way for people to reap the benefits of this diet supplement? Can you take too much? Is it safe?

Research on CLA has shown some concering side effects, mostly because it is a special type of fat similar to trans fats. For example, blood tests that follow inflammation can be higher in some people taking CLA, and it may adversely affect cholesterol levels and liver tests. Be sure to talk with your doctor before taking CLA as a diet supplement.

Weight Loss Supplements: Fiber

When it comes to dropping pounds, weight loss supplements that help keep you full can make it easier to cut back on the amount of food you eat. And when it comes to feeling full, fiber is your friend.

“Things that delay gastric emptying and stay in the stomach longer theoretically will make you feel fuller for a longer period of time,” says Sasha Stiles, MD, an obesity expert at Tufts Medical Center. “There’s enough fairly good research to show that an appropriate amount of fiber, such as bran or psyllium, can do this. Don’t take too much, though, because it can stop you up.”

A recent study found that overweight and obese people who took a fiber diet supplement each day reported less hunger after meals than people taking a placebo, and there was a trend for those using a fiber supplement to lose more weight.

If you decide to increase your fiber intake from food or diet supplements, be sure to add fiber to your diet slowly. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming constipated.

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine recommends that men under age 50 consume 38 grams of fiber a day, and 30 grams a day after age 50. Women under age 50 should consume 25 grams of fiber per day, and 21 grams per day after age 50. Most people only get about half of this amount.

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