The holiday season is often a time for weight gain for many people. In one study involving 49 overweight, but otherwise healthy adults aged 18-44, supplementing with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for six months from July to December reduced body fat and prevented weight gain during the holiday season from November to December. Subjects were randomized to receive either 3.2 grams/day of CLA or a placebo.
After six months, those who took CLA had reduced their body fat by 2.2 pounds, while those who took the placebo had no change. Moods significantly improved for those taking CLA as well, compared to baseline reports. Between the two groups, there were no significant changes in resting metabolic rate, physical activity, dietary intake, insulin resistance, blood lipids, markers of liver function or general markers of inflammation. However, for the CLA group, there was a significant decrease in the biomarker of endothelial dysfunction, thought to be a key element in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
Considering that existing research shows even small increases in weight over the holiday period contribute to overall weight gain by adults, and considering 65% of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese, the results of this study are promising.