CLA: THE FAT THAT MAKES YOU SLIM

In an overweight society that consumes far too many carbohydrates, diet doctors have had an easy time selling high protein/low carbohydrate diets or diets that eliminate virtually all fats. While these diets do take off weight, the minute you go back on a balanced diet your body will quickly stock up on the nutrients it's been missing and you will put weight back on--fast. The truth is, to remain healthy or to regain health your body needs fresh air, clean water, sunshine, and exercise. It also needs a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Yes, fats the kinds that actually make your body work more efficiently.

THE FAT-BALANCING ACT

All fats are not equal. The diet of our ancestors included a good balance of essential fatty acids (EFAs, also called vitamin F), particularly omega-3 fatty acids (found in flax oil, fish, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts)and omega-6 fatty acids (found in safflower, sunflower, canola, soybean, sesame seeds, and pine nuts). These fatty acids are called essential because our bodies can't make them and we must get them from food. Unlike saturated fats--from animals, butter, whole milk, and vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature (such as margarine)---which raise cholesterol levels, essential fatty acids are critical components of every nerve cell and cell membrane, as well as prostaglandins.

A healthy balance is four of the omega-6 fatty acids to one of the omega-3 (4:1). But today the ratio is anywhere from 20:1 to 25:1! The reasons for this are simple:

  • We eat too few omega-3-rich foods in proportion to the omega-6 foods we take in. Omega-3-rich foods like eggs have fallen out of favor, and the most popular seafood (salmon, trout, catfish, and shrimp) that used to provide an omega-3-rich diet are now being grown on farms where they're fed omega-6-rich grains and grain byproducts.
  • Vegetable oils--practically every fried food or snack food is cooked in an omega-6 oil.
  • Most prepared salad dressings contain omega-6 rich oils rather than the neutral omega-9 virgin olive oil or omega-3 oils. This is because omega-6 oils have a longer shelf life.
  • Most of our meat comes from beef, chicken, and pigs that have been fed mainly corn and corn oil diets high in omega-6 EFAs.
  • We clog our arteries and accelerate aging by consuming hydrogenated, oxidized, and trans fatty acids found in margarine, fast foods, and snack foods. And even though you are getting some omega-6 fatty acids, in fact the usefulness of these fats is diminished by food-processing methods. Convenience is making us sick.

Robbed of the essential fatty acids it needs to function, your body converts carbohydrates into fat. Fortunately, in this special report I've identified alternatives to dieting that can restore balance, help prevent other health problems, and give you the edge you need to fear no food.

THE LIPOSUCTION PILL

The latest nutrition research indicates that the dramatic decrease in our consumption of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is linked to the increase in the incidence of obesity and other health problems. Linoleic acid is one of the good omega-6 fatty acids. CLA is found in beef, lamb, turkey, and milk products from animals that are range-fed; but when cows eat prepared feeds rather than grass, the CLA content of milk and other dairy products drops to less than half. So even if we increase our intake of dairy and beef, we're not likely to get the CLA we need.

The good news is, we can take CLA in a pill form called Tonalin. Most of the research has been done using Tonalin CLA so it's important to look for the Tonalin label to ensure you're getting a quality CLA product. There are companies out there selling vegetable oil and calling it CLA (Tonalin CLA comes from safflower oil, but is a conjugated product that is quite different from common vegetable oils.) You won't get the same results I'm about to discuss by using vegetable oil. But before I tell you how much to take each day, I want to tell you the rest of the story about CLA.

Weight Loss and Reduction of Body Fat. In 1998, researchers in Louisiana found that when CLA was included in the diet of mice, there was a 43 to 88 percent reduction in body fat in just six weeks. Even more encouraging, the area that appeared the most sensitive to CLA was the fat in the abdominal region. (Am J Physio! 98; 275 (3Pt2): R667-72)

CLA triggered the loss of body fat by increasing the metabolic rate, decreasing the appetite, and causing more body-fat cells to be used for energy production. Follow up studies by this same group of researchers revealed that CLA's ability to help lower body fat worked with both high- and low-fat diets. In addition to the body-fat reduction, CLA also increased muscle mass. (Am J Physiol 99; 276 (4Pt2): Rl172-9)

Human studies testing CLA's ability to reduce body fat in obese individuals have recently been completed and the results are nothing short of amazing. Body fat was reduced by 20 percent over a 12 week period simply by adding CLA supplements to the diet.

In a Norwegian study, people taking 3.4 grams per day saw the same benefits as those taking 6.8 grams per day. (J Nutr 00; 130 (12):2943-8) This weight loss was achieved without any changes in diet or exercise. These results indicate that supplementing a balanced diet with 3.4 grams of CLA per day will help you to lose fat and gain muscle. Remember, muscle is heavier than fat so you might not see a drop m your actual weight at first.

CLA is safe and non-toxic. It's possible you are getting some CLA from your diet, but certainly not enough. Whole milk, butter (throw away that margarine), cheeses such as cheddar, blue, brie, edam and Swiss, beef, lamb, yogurt, and turkey are sources of CLA; but they are less than reliable, as I've said, because of modern feeding methods. Even if you could find a good food source, it's very difficult to ingest anywhere near 3.4 grams of CLA each day from diet alone.

That's why I recommend including the foods I've mentioned above in your daily diet and supplementing with Tonalin CLA each day. Each Tonalin softgel contains 1,000 mg (1 g) of safflower oil, 750 mg of which is CLA. I recommend taking four Tonalin softgels daily which will give you 3,000 mg (3 g) of CLA. Tonalin CLA can be found at your local health food store.

Final Words on CLA. If you're not concerned about weight loss, there are other very compelling reasons to include CLA in your daily diet. Recent research indicates that CLA, which converts to hormone-like substances called prostaglandins in your body, has a significant impact on cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, the immune system, and bone and joint health. Very briefly, CLA:

  • May reduce tumor growth and slow the development of prostate and breast cancers by inhibiting inflammation, interfering with tumor growth factors, and impeding uncontrolled cell division;
  • Prevents and treats diabetes by reducing obesity and facilitating the movement of glucose into cells so that the need for insulin is reduced;
  • Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and helps prevent clogging of the arteries by stabilizing LDL cholesterol so that it is less susceptible to oxidation;
  • Improves fat transport across cell membranes so that the heart can use those fats for energy;
  • Improves immune system response to attack and inhibits harmful inflammations such as arthritis.

FLAX FOR HEALTH

When it comes to correcting your fatty acid ratio, and getting your body to be a fat-burning rather than fat-building machine, I have some other good news. You can easily supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids. The two most readily available sources are fish and flax. Since fish contain less omega-3 fatty acids now that they are farmed, and fish oil is expensive to take on a regular basis, I recommend flaxseed and flax oil.

The omega-3 fatty acids in flax oil and flaxseed can increase your metabolic rate so that you burn fats more quickly. They can also increase energy production, facilitate oxygen transfer, lower blood pressure, and decrease the stickiness of your blood platelets.

To lose weight, start with three tablespoons of flax oil daily. Continue this dose for several months until you've lost the weight you desire or your weight stabilizes, Then cut back to one or two tablespoons a day to keep yourself in good health. Make sure you get a fresh product from your health store and keep the oil in the refrigerator. The best flax oil I've located so far is made by Flora, Inc, called Flora Flax Oil (800-446-2110). A tasty alternative to the oil is to grind the flax seeds yourself. Grind only enough seeds (two or three tablespoons) for each use.

Don't expect miracles overnight. Restoring your EFA ratio could take six months or more. Fats and fat-soluble supplements take longer to saturate your tissues than water-based supplements like vitamin C. And beneficial fatty acids must gradually replace unhealthy fatty acids, toxins, and other components in your cell walls.

GO NUTTY

Another delicious way to take in essential fatty acids is to include raw nuts in your diet, Research repeatedly has shown that by simply eating nuts you can improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce your risk of heart disease, and lose weight! My favorites are walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts.

Contrary to all the diet books you've read, nuts are a nearly perfect food. Three ounces of nuts a day can lower LDL cholesterol in a period of five weeks, In the ongoing Nurses Health Study, researchers found that women who regularly ate as little as five ounces of nuts a week had one-third less likelihood of heart attack than women who rarely ate nuts. (Brit Med J 98;317 (7169):1341-5)

Not only are nuts the perfect storehouse for essential fatty acids, they are a good source of minerals like magnesium and potassium and the amino acid arginine, which the body uses to make nitric oxide. Nitric oxide improves blood flow to the heart muscle in times of low oxygen levels and acts as a powerful antioxidant.

CHEAP FAT BURNER

The news on green tea just keeps getting better. It began a few years ago with study after study showing that green tea or green tea extracts had significant cancer preventive effects in animals. One of the most interesting findings was that drinking at least one cup per week for six months or longer reduced the risk of esophageal cancer in women by 50 percent. In more than 30 abstracts of research on animals, green tea has been found to reduce tumors, cause partial regression of skin cancer, and inhibit the growth of tumors in the colon.

Green tea appears to increase the body's metabolic rate and burn fat. That was the result of a Swiss study in which 10 men were given two Capsules containing 90 mg of green tea extract with each meal. They burned four percent more energy (80 calories) than on the days they didn't receive the capsules, What made the study even more interesting was that there were no other changes made in the men's lifestyle or eating habits. (Am J Clin Nutr 99; 70(12):1040-1045)

Laboratory studies of green tea show that it is rich in polyphenols, which is what makes its antioxidant powers work better than vitamin E, according to some researchers. Green tea has half the caffeine of coffee, and two cups of the tea contain the same amount of vitamin C as one cup of orange juice. It's also a weak anti-bacterial and may help prevent tooth decay. Green tea has shown no toxicity and no adverse effects on fertility, pregnancy, or nursing.

The dose for weight loss in the Swiss study was 90-100 mg of green tea extract with each meal. Look for an extract standardized to 50 mg of catechins (polyphenols) per capsule. Green tea can be found in health food stores. I've also found an online source, www.naturalconnections.com, that offers the extract in 100 mg capsules.

If you're a coffee drinker, consider replacing most of your coffee consumption with green tea, for its health benefits.

IT MIGHT BE YOUR THYROID

If you are having difficulty maintaining your normal weight, it might be due to your thyroid. An under active thyroid causes millions of Americans to experience exhaustion, an inability to concentrate, and the piling on of unwanted pounds, even when their eating habits have not changed.

Basically hypothyroidism is the failure of the body to produce adequate amounts of the important thyroid hormone thyroxine that regulates many functions, including metabolism and the conversion of food into energy.

The mineral iodine is essential in the production of thyroxine, but there is less and less of this important mineral in our diets. Unfortunately, you can't get iodine by increasing the amount of table salt in your diet because most of our table salts are no longer iodized.

In addition to iodine deficiency, my research indicates that selenium deficiency and estrogen like pollution, from sources like PCBs, dioxins, and pesticides such as lindane or dieldrin, also block thyroxin production.

Hypothyroid Self test. Take this simple test to determine whether your thyroid is balanced. It takes only three steps:

  1. Place an oral thermometer by your bed at night, and shake it down to at least 96 degrees.
  2. When you wake up the next morning, immediately place the thermometer in your armpit and leave it there for 10 minutes before getting out of bed. Relax and remain still. (Note: Men and postmenopausal women can do the test any time. Women in their menstrual years get the most accurate readings on the second or third day after menstrual flow starts.)
  3. Record the temperature. A reading of anywhere between 97.2 and 98.2 degrees is considered normal; temperatures below 97.2 degrees generally indicate you have a thyroid imbalance.

Natural Solutions for Under active Thyroid. If your thyroid is unbalanced, one of the most effective ways I've found to rebalance it is to take a liquid iodine product called Iosol. For the first two weeks, take four drops of Iosol in water each day; then reduce the dosage to two drops daily. (Under no circumstances should you ingest antiseptic or topical iodine.) Iosol can be found at your local health food store.

If the Iosol alone does not seem to alleviate the symptoms of hypothyroidism, then I suggest you take three tablets of a glandular product called Thytrophin along with just one drop of Iosol per day. Thytrophin can often be used in place of prescription thyroid medications. In my opinion, the best and most reliable Thytrophin is made by Standard Process (800-848-5061). The only downside is that they only sell to doctors. If a doctor in your area doesn't carry this product, he/she can order it for you.

Other safe, natural, and effective ways you can correct an under active thyroid include taking:

Zinc for proper thyroid hormone metabolism, 30-50 mg per day. Keep in mind that it may take months for oral zinc supplementation to affect a chronic thyroid problem.

Selenium. 70-200 mcg daily. Also eat selenium-rich foods such as wheat germ, tuna, herring and other seafood and shellfish, beef liver and kidney, eggs, sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and kelp.

Soy products like tofu and soymilk. For those who have an underactive thyroid, soy products can help mildly stimulate thyroid function. Certain other foods have the opposite effect--a tendency to lower thyroid function. These foods include turnips, mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, rutabaga, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cress, cauliflower, kale and kohlrabi. Those with an underactive thyroid should avoid them, while people with hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, would do better to avoid the soy products and eat more cruciferous vegetables.

BUILD MUSCLE AND SHED FAT WITHOUT EXERCISE!

I'd be remiss if I didn't include three final tips for rescuing you from fad diets.
Eat hot peppers,
or take capsules containing capsaicin from chili peppers. They safely increase energy levels and remove fat molecules.
Take 5 grams of creatine four times a day for seven days, then reduce the dose to five grams a day. You must also increase your water intake. Creatine is one of the essential components related to the creation of energy necessary for muscle contraction. It is a nitrogen-type compound derived from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine. It increases your body's ability to produce more lean muscle. It can help you recuperate from injuries and illness, improve heart function, and strengthen skeletal muscles. I add one five-gram scoop of creatine powder to juice each morning. The brand I use is made by Welder Nutrition and is available at many nationwide stores and pharmacies including Walmart, Rite Aide, Walgreens, mart, Target, GNC, and Long's Drugs, or you can call 800-439-8042 to order by mail.
Use a sauna. Your body reacts to the heat of a sauna like it does to exercise. Your pulse rate increases to around 160 beats a minute, surface blood vessels open, and your heart pumps more blood to compensate. It won't strengthen your muscles, but by increasing your heart rate, it will help burn off fat. Note: Check with your doctor first to see if this is a safe method for you.

You no longer have to suffer the constant roller coaster effects of fad diets, losing pounds and then gaining back more than you lost. Start by incorporating just one of these fat busting methods into your daily routine. You'll be more balanced and comfortable with food than you've ever been.

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