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Double cheeseburgers on a diet?

When I used to write for Muscular Development Magazine, a friend/co-contributor Dave Palumbo (also a medical student, top-ranked national-level bodybuilder, and bodybuilding industry expert) claimed that eating cheeseburgers was one of his best strategies to losing body fat. Chicken breasts, tuna, sure I was very familiar with, but cheeseburgers? Dave was known in the bodybuilding industry for having extreme striated glutes. I used to tease him, "Damn, your striations even have striations, my fingers need to do some walking!" in which one could still see that he was easy to blush, even underneath all the self tanner. His gleaming white smile boasted that he was damn proud proving that what he was doing, was indeed working. As many who follow bodybuilding know, muscle striations are the ultimate goal of any bodybuilder at contest judging, but so incredibly difficult to attain. So, seriously, how could Dave eat cheeseburgers when the rest of the world was trying to sue fast food restaurants like McDonald's for "making them fat?"

Well, interestingly enough, it turns out that Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is an unique fatty acid which was first isolated from grilled ground beef in the early 1980s by researchers at the University of Wisconsin. CLA is also found in dairy foods. Hmmm, there really was something to Dave's claim of eating cheeseburgers, he wasn't just using this an excuse to flirt with me! Of course, he didn't eat all the crap on them like most Americans do and he did have a very precise detailed diet and exercise strategy. Much to a strict dieter's such as Dave, it was a treat that organic cheese and organic hamburger meat could be part of what is considered to be a very bland extreme dieting menu. Why organic? Because fat stores toxins and there are many chemicals in conventional meats and cheese which makes it harder for the body to shed the fat.

So What is CLA? CLA is a metabolically active compound that has been demonstrated to dramatically reduce body fat and increase lean body tissue. The mechanisms of action are not completely understood, but because CLA has been shown to affect a wide variety of enzymes and hormones in the body, multiple mechanisms may come into play. CLA interferes with a substance in your body called lipoprotein lipase that helps store fat in your body and helps your body use its existing fat for energy. Many studies on CLA in humans show a tendency for reduced body fat1., particularly abdominal fat, changes in serum total lipids and decreased whole body glucose uptake. The maximum reduction in body fat mass was achieved with a 3.4 g daily dose2.

CLA can also be taken as a dietary supplement and is now generally derived from plant sources like safflower oil which also shows promise in two important areas. Evidence suggests it can slow down some of the steps in cancer's complex progression and it may help tame excess inflammation. CLA increases lean muscle tissue, which naturally slims your body (and makes you feel strong and healthy). And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body uses in order to function, thereby speeding up the fat burning process. CLA has shown an ability to actually encourage fat cells to commit a form of cellular suicide called apoptosis - which results in fewer places for fat to hide. At the same time, CLA promotes the transport of fat into exercising muscle cells, helping them both burn off calories and also become more toned (and shapely). As a result, you get smaller in all the right places. You drop clothes sizes. You look and feel great with no yo-yo dieting effect.

Human studies are in progress, which will make a stronger case for efficacy and dose response. Expectations are high that research will additionally show no regain of body fat lost, suggesting that CLA should be included with every diet regimen. In Norway, for example, scientists from five separate institutions teamed up for a study involving people who were healthy but overweight. For the first year, some of the individuals took CLA while the others took placebo softgels that contained olive oil instead; in the second year, everyone took CLA. At the end of two years, all the people in this study showed significant reductions in body fat, body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of obesity and weight (Journal of Nutrition 4/05).

A Swedish investigation shows a link between high CLA intake and reduced colorectal cancer risk (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 10/05). In various lab studies, CLA has been shown to interfere with tumor development and to keep cancerous cells from spreading to nearby organs. What's more, CLA appears to regulate immunity by helping to strengthen the body's natural defenses, while protecting against the inflammatory damage the immune response can cause. That's important because low-level inflammation has been linked to an ever-growing list of disorders including cancer, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

If you want to fight off both fat and cancer without eating a mountain of cheeseburgers, it is easier to turn to the CLA dietary supplement instead. As a matter of fact, we have one of the most highly therapeutic form of CLA available. Many of us have forgotten about this powerful fat losing supplement!

by Ms Behav'n


1. Thom E, Wadstein J, Gudmundsen O. (Sep-Oct 2001). "Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat in healthy exercising humans.". The Journal of International Medical Research 29 (5): 392-396. PMID 11725826. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

2. Blankson H, Stakkestad JA, Fagertun H, Thom E, Wadstein J, Gudmundsen O. (December 2000). "Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in overweight and obese humans.". Journal of Nutrition 130 (12): 2943-2948. PMID 11110851. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

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