There is an infamous incongruity between the high level of saturated fat found in the French diet and the relatively low incidence of heart disease found in the French population. Another diet-related contradiction has recently emerged--Americans are lowering their fat intake, but obesity statistics continue to rise. One theory explaining this irony is that those very Americans who are trying to lose weight by lowering their fat intake are consuming less of an important fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which research has shown to reduce body fat mass.

CLA is a mixture of linoleic acid isomers with conjugated double bonds found naturally in beef and dairy products. In the past decade, the potential beneficial effects of CLA on human health have been widely investigated. The most exciting results are in the area of weight management and body composition, as several short-term studies have demonstrated that CLA can positively affect body composition and has a beneficial effect on lean muscle mass. 1,2,3,4Also, a recent meta-analysis published in theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutritionreported that at a dose of 3.2g/day, CLA produces a significant, but modest, loss in body fat.5

This research has reached the attention of consumers, resulting in increased sales of CLA-based, weight-management supplements. As of July 2008, food manufacturers can also take advantage of this growing of body of clinical science, as Lipid Nutrition, manufacturers of Clarinol CLA oils and powders, announced that its branded CDL was awarded FDA GRAS status. Thus, Clarinol is allowed in certain food applications, such as flavored milks, yogurts, milk-based meal replacements, meal replacement bars, soymilk and fruit juices. Lipid Nutrition makes its branded CLA from pure, natural safflower oil, using patented technologies and a strict set of quality and safety standards. Their process results in a very consistent fatty acid, or isomer profile, with the highest possible concentration of beneficial CLA isomers. In addition, Clarinol CLA was the subject of a recent clinical trial published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which reported CLA reduced fat mass in specific locations in the body, such as the abdomen and thighs.4In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of healthy overweight and obese adults, 3.4g/day of Clarinol CLA significantly reduced body fat mass after three months and six months compared to placebo (see chart “Change in Body Mass”).

Katinka Abbenbroek, CEO of Lipid Nutrition, states, “With its GRAS status, Clarinol CLA can now provide an exceptional opportunity for food companies to differentiate themselves and make unique and marketable claims around reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle.” Formulating with a 3g per day dosage allows the use of structure/function claims, such as “reduces the amount of body fat,” “increases lean muscle mass” and “maintains your body-weight level.” Clarinol CLA is available in both liquid and powder form to allow companies more possibilities to integrate weight-management benefits into different types of applications.  pf

Blankson, H, et al., 2000. J Nutr. 130:2943-9.
2Gaullier, JM, et al. 2004. Am J Clin Nutr. 79:1118-25.
3Gaullier, JM, et al. 2005. J Nutr. 135:778-84.
4Gaullier, JM, et al., 2007. Br J Nutr. 97:550-60.
5Whigham, LD, et al. 2007. Am J Clin Nutr. 85:1203-11.

-- Ginny Bank, Contributing Editor 

For more information:
Lipid Nutrition • Channahon, Ill.
Marianne O’Shea • 815-730-5324