With obesity affecting millions of consumers in Europe, there is strong interest in food ingredients that could help consumers regularize their weight and body composition.

Several studies have been carried out on the food ingredient, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is an isomer of linoleic acid (same formula but different spatial configuration) found
naturally in dairy products and meat. Now, a US meta-analysis has brought these together to evaluate whether CLA is an effective means of lowering body fat.

The authors of the paper, based at Wisconsin University, identified 15 high quality published studies on the use of CLA in humans. All of these used specific CLA isomers thought to be more
effective in combination. The results showed that each gram of CLA consumed per day could lower body fat by 0.024 g per week. Compared with a placebo, a standard dose of 3.2g of CLA per day
delivered a body fat reduction of 0.09 kg per week. The authors concluded that a daily dose of CLA was effective and could produce a ‘modest loss in body fat in humans’.

For more information, see
Whigham LD et al (2007) Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 85, issue 5, pg 1203-1211.