Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is an interesting molecule, in that it is actually a trans-fat. While extensive studies have confirmed that trans-fats tend to raise cholesterol levels and increase risk of heart disease, CLA does just the opposite.
CLA is a naturally occurring trans-fat whereas those that have negative health effects are often the product of processed food items. CLA has been found to reduce the storage of fat in the body thereby enhancing weight loss and reducing some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. The benefits of this substance often go unappreciated as many people understandably assume that trans-fats are to be avoided and the truth is most are.
CLA is able to enhance weight loss through a number of biochemical mechanisms in the body. The primary way CLA aids in weight loss is by enhancing the rate of beta oxidation and lipolysis in the body. These are the processes by which body fat is broken down and used for energy. By increasing the rate at which fat is used for energy, the rate at which it is stored will be significantly reduced, resulting in a net loss of overall body fat.
Another mechanism that allows CLA to be such a potent promoter of fat loss is its ability to reduce the uptake of sugars, namely glucose, into the fat cells. The increased rate of lipolysis coupled with the inhibition of sugar uptake, makes for an efficient and reliable means of losing weight and cutting body fat.