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CLA & The Paleo Diet

Concluding my focus on common deficiencies, this week turns to CLA.

CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is the good trans-fat that occurs naturally in dairy and meat products – especially when animals have been grass-fed, another plus for the Paleo diet. In the stomach of animals such as the goat, sheep or cows millions and millions of tiny pieces of bacteria help the animal to digest its food. They also help to covert dietary linoleic fatty acids into saturated fatty acids. While this conversion takes time and several steps, one of those steps is to create CLA, some of this never actually gets fully saturated and will show up instead in the animals milk fat and body.

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28 different CLA isomers – or structural arrangements of the molecules show in CLA rich animal fat.  This is very complex and different from the trans-fats created by partially hydrogenating vegetable oils. It is those lab created trans-fats that have a negative metabolic and health effect, while the CLA isomers you get from grass fed dairy and meat is more beneficial.

CLA has been touted as the “belly busting” trans fat with research in 2007 showing that in rats, supplementing their diets with CLA did not cause them to lose whole body fat, but it was found they became more insulin sensitive. When it came to supplementing CLA in mice diets it did cause rapid weight loss, but the increase in hepatic fat accumulation left the mice insulin resistant.

Many people have taken CLA as a supplement and it did seem to work for weight loss, but while the weight loss was good, at the moment we are not really sure what else it does to the body. Research into this further on different animals may help us better understand if there are any additional effects on humans. Are we more like mice or rats?
Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency
The one thing that these studies did show was that hepatic fat accumulation or loss and body fat accumulation or loss is not always in the same direction. We are seeing hepatic fat loss but no weight loss and hepatic fat gain with rapid weight loss. Those who follow low carb diets insisting that this metabolic advantage allows them to eat thousands of calories and lose weight will love the little mouse’s result! While the study on the mouse is quite well known amongst those in the carb circle with the mouse eating as much as it wants without losing or gaining weight, this metabolism does come at a price – profound liver damage.

Tests were carried out to see what effect dietary supplements of CLA would have on the body mass index, and body fat distribution. 40 volunteers participated in a 12 week double blind study some received a CLA while other received olive oil. Body fat and abdominal and hepatic fat content was assessed with an overall finding that showed CLA supplements did not show any significant change in the volunteers BMI index or in their total body fat.

Have you considered supplementing with CLA? If you have, did it have good results for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, below.

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The Paleo Diet and Linoleic Acid

Throughout our lives we are led to believe that fats are bad for us – and fats are the reason we pile on weight, but as those of us following the Paleo diet know, this is actually not the case at all How much do you know about Linoleic acid?

Amongst the essential fats which are necessary for a healthy lifestyle are Linoleic and Linolenic acid, which are Omega 6 fatty acids. Linoleic acid is found throughout our whole bodies, which is why it is an essential fatty acid. A lack of Linoleic acid in the body can lead to a number of health issues, such as the hair follicles becoming weak and following out or becoming really dry. Not a problem most of us want to deal with, particularly women!

The key to a healthy lifestyle is to get the ratio of essential fatty acids right, which is why the Paleo diet is the best one to follow to ensure you maximise the health benefits of your diet. If you don’t follow the Paleo diet, you are likely to have far too much Omega 6 in your body and far too little Omega 3. A diet which is too high in Omega 6 is as unhealthy as having too little as it can lead to weight gain, obesity and numerous other health issues.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is to follow the Paleo diet, as this will ensure you are consuming the right balance of good fatty acids, which as a result will enable you to live a long and healthy lifestyle. The best way to ensure the right level of fatty acids in the body is to consume  a variety of foods which are part of the Paleo diet. Fish and nut oils for instance are a good source of Omega 3 and offer a number of other health benefits. If you decide to eat butter on the Paleo diet (i.e. take more of a Primal – or Lacto-Paleo stance), it is best to choose organic butter from grass fed animals as this contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which is thought to have properties which fight cancer and other serious illnesses.

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A staple food which should be part of your daily Paleo diet are egg yolks as these are full of nutrients and have the perfect balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6. The white of eggs can also be beneficial to the health but egg yolks are the main source of the right essential fatty acids and nutrients. Eggs can be eaten in all kinds of varieties, including omelette and are a really easy meal for both breakfast and dinner. They are also a good source of protein so you can’t go wrong with having these as part of your diet.

The right combination of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids will not only enable the body to function properly and fight off common illnesses, it is also a great way to lose weight. As the Paleo diet involves eating the right combination of all of the key vitamins, nutrients and fatty acids, it is the perfect way to feel healthier, lose weight and tone up. If you combine the Paleo diet with a good exercise routine, you will be sure to reap the benefits of your hard work in no time at all.

It can take a while to work out the exact benefits of the range of foods available to us, which is why the Paleo diet is the best one to follow.  The hard work is done for you so all you have to do is follow it to the letter and ensure you are sticking to the recommended intake of each of the different nutrients and vitamins. The only way to ensure we stay healthy and fight off illnesses to the best of our ability is to have a better awareness of why we eat certain foods. The Paleo diet is carefully constructed for this reason and as such, is the best way to enjoy a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Do you get the right amount of Linoleic Acid in your diet?