CLA grass fed beef and weight loss

The term CLA refers to a class of positional and geometric conjugated dieonic isomers of linoleic acid. 

It has been shown to have many biological effects, including anti-carcinogenesis, anti-atherogenesis, immune modulation, and altering body composition (Pariza, 2004). 

CLA is a naturally occurring compound which can help keep you healthy and lean. As with all the other natural sports nutrition no brainers it’s simple to increase in the diet and you can supplement with relatively small amounts to obtain its benefits.

Hey guess what CLA also occurs naturally in cows, yes the meat and milk and milk based products which come from a cow are very high in natural CLA. There’s one problem though the cow’s got to eat grass! Before you think I thought they did, how wrong could you be, most cows eat a version of cornflakes (less refined than the ones we have in the supermarket though)!

The problem with the cows eating ‘cornflakes’ is that the cornflakes are high in omega 6 oils. Omega 6 fatty acids make you fat real quick, remember the inflammation story? It’s omega 6 dependent. Do yourself a favour, don’t eat cow’s which don’t eat grass and don’t drink the milk, eat the cheese or put the butter on your bread use virgin organic coconut oil instead.. But if grass fed beef is beyond the pail then you might want to supplement with CLA.

The effect of CLA on human body composition is controversial, but when the body of evidence is considered as a whole, CLA does appear to reduce body fat (Whigham, Watras and Schoeller, 2007); although the effect is modest. 

The mechanisms by which CLA may reduce body fat include reduction of lipid accumulation by adipocytes mediated through effects on lipoprotein lipase and stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase (Pariza, Park and Cook, 2001). 

As highlighted above CLA has different isomers.  The t10, c12 isomer has been identified as the one responsible for decreasing body fat (Park et al., 1999; Gavino et al., 2000).  Notwithstanding this, one human study that exclusively used the t10, c12 isomer resulted in transient insulin resistance within 12 weeks (Riserus et al., 2002).  There is inadequate data to indicate an ideal mix of isomers for body composition, but it is generally agreed that a mixture of t10, c12 and c9, t11 results in no severe adverse events (Whigham et al., 2007). 

The optimal dose for CLA is uncertain. Doses ranging between 0.5-5g/d have been reported to decrease body fat.  However, higher doses may produce additional fat loss (Whigham et al., 2007).  

As part of your fat burning regime including grass fed beef products seems to be a useful idea. In addition supplementing with CLA will help decrease pain and inflammation associated with intensive exercise and may have additional beneficial effects on fat storage and muscle building.


Matt Lovell – Elite Sports Nutritionist

Matt Lovell - Elite Sports Nutritionist

Matt Lovell is an Elite Sports Nutritionist. He has worked with the England Rugby Team since 2002 and also currently works with 4 premiership teams and UK Athletics team as they prepare for the Olympic Games in London in 2012..  His primary website is  chock full of useful Sports Nutrition information and if you leave a question Matt’s really good at getting back to you.

Matt has written a comprehensive guide on Preparing for a Big Event, the popular Fat Loss Program Four Week Fat Loss and Regenerate a Muscle Building Nutrition program.


Leave a Reply