You may have heard that some dietary oils can help you trim extra inches, but are the rumors true?
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and Safflower oil (SAF) are being used as dietary supplements because clinical studies show that they reduce body weight and promote fat loss. A study published in September 2009 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the effect of linoleic acid and safflower oil on weight loss in obese post menopausal women.
Researching Linoleic Acid And Safflower Oil for Weight Loss
A total of 55 overweight, postmenopausal women from the Columbus area participated in the study.
- They were all clinically obese, each with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30.
- Each participant took a total of 8 grams of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) or safflower oil (SAF) daily in the form of 8 capsules: 2 capsules with each meal and 2 capsules at night. SAF is a natural source of palmitic acid, stearic acid, oleic acid and linoleic acid and therefore SAF capsules consisted of a mixture of these oils . CLA capluses contained mainly conjugated linoleic acid.
- The study ran for 36 weeks: two 16-week dieting periods separated by a 4-week resting period.
Can Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) And Safflower (SAF) Oil Help You Lose Weight?
Safflower oil participants lost an average of 6.3 percent of their torso fat and gained lean mass. That’s particularly significant because the risk of losing lean tissue muscle mass increases in women after menopause.
Linoleic acid participants lost weight as well, but they didn’t add any lean mass.
It is noteworthy that these effects occurred without any change in diet or exercise habits.
During the course of the study, the participants’ weight loss didn’t slow or stop, as usually happens to anyone who sets out to lose weight. The researchers suspect that people who take dietary oil supplements for an even longer period of time could lose even more weight.
Here is an excerpt from the study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“This study is the first to show that such a modest amount (~1 teaspoon or 8 mL) of a linoleic acid–rich oil may have a profound effect on body composition in women. Although CLA reduced total body adiposity, SAF reduced trunk adipose mass in both diet periods. The loss observed in our study (1.20 and 1.90 kg) translates to an average loss of 6.3% of starting adipose mass of the trunk region. To our knowledge, this magnitude of reduction has not been reported in an intervention that used a linoleic acid–rich oil. Furthermore, SAF increased total body lean tissue mass (gains averaging 1.4 and 0.6 kg, an ~1.6% increase from starting lean mass). Importantly, the effect of SAF was independent of diet or activity changes.”
Not Just Weight Loss
Better Insulin Sensitivity – Lower Glucose Levels
Safflower oil lowered the levels of glucose in participants’ blood, and improved their insulin sensitivity. Because both elevated glucose and insulin resistance can be caused by excess stomach fat, safflower oil could have caused the reduction of glucose and insulin resistance by burning stomach fat.
Increased Adiponectin Levels
Those who took safflower oil showed a 20 percent increase in the levels of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates fatty acid catabolism. Generally, losing weight greatly increases the amount of adiponectin found in your bloodstream. Participants who took linoleic acid didn’t experience any significant changes in their adiponectin levels.
Dietary Oils Are A Beneficial Supplement, Especially For Postmenopausal Women
Losing stomach fat (belly fat) can be especially tricky after menopause because of hormonal changes that lead to weight gain. Women gain more fat during this time, with much of their weight gain shifting to the stomach—a particularly dangerous location for body fat.
Excess stomach fat can increase anyone’s risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical disorders that increase the odds of developing cardiovascular disease or diabetes. According to the study “at a dose of 6.4 g/d, conjugated linoleic acid has a significant effect on lowering body weight and total adipose mass without altering lean tissue mass in obese postmenopausal women who are not also on a weight-loss diet or exercise plan”
Losing weight is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing other medical conditions. As the study shows, a daily dose of linoleic acid or safflower oil can help make the task a bit easier. Unlike many over-the-counter remedies, dietary oils are safe for just about anyone, making them a good way to help your body burn more fat.
The study concludes:
“Our findings suggest that dietary supplementation of oils rich in the n26 linoleic acid decreases trunk adipose, increases lean tissue mass, and improves glycemic control which may reduce the risk of heart disease as well as other comorbidities from poorly controlled diabetes. Our data also suggest that at a dose of 6.4 g/d, CLA has a significant effect on lowering body weight and total adipose mass without altering lean tissue mass in obese postmenopausal women who are not also on a weight-loss diet or exercise plan. The use of lower doses of CLA over longer durations of intervention may prove to be an effective weight-loss aid.”…"Supplementation with these [CLA and SAF] dietary oils may be beneficial for weight loss, glycemic control, or both"
The study “Comparison of dietary conjugated linoleic acid with safﬂower oil on body composition in obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes mellitus” was lead by Leigh E Norris and was conducted at the Ohio State University.