Friday, June 10, 2011

From formspring, Does natural trans fat have health benefits?

Question - Does natural trans fat have any benefits because I've been hearing it does or is this just another myth?

Answer - Naturally occurring trans fats have health benefits. It is not a myth.

Very occasionally, trans fats do occur in nature. The most commonly known example is called  conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Unlike its synthetic counterparts, CLA is known to have many health benefits, however, these benefits are not in any way shared with the synthetic trans fats produced during hydrogenation.  Research has been conducted on animals, under microscopes, and with humans to determine the impact of CLA on diseases and since CLA cannot be manufactured naturally in the human body, you must get it from your diet such as from grass-fed beef. Animal studies show that as little as 0.5 percent CLA in your diet could be a potent ally for combating:

  • Cancer:reduce tumors by over 50 percent, including breast, colrectal, lung, skin, and stomach
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insulin resistance: CLA’s actions actually mimic the effect of synthetic diabetic drugs. Testing on mice with type 2 diabetes have shown CLA to improve insulin action and reduce circulating glucose. Even better, the early results from human trials are just as positive, when consuming CLA for longer than eight weeks.
  • Inflammation
  • Immune system invaders
  • Food-induced allergic reactions
  • Body Composition:  Exciting research with humans has shown that CLA has been beneficial in lowering body fat, with even greater improvement in those who combine exercise with dietary intake of CLA. Animal research has been even more promising, with significant improvements seen in both reducing body fat and in increasing lean body mass.
  • Previous studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue, and may also increase your metabolic rate.  A study published in the  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who took 3.2 grams of CLA a day had a drop in fat mass of about 0.2 pounds a week (that’s about one pound a month) compared to those given a placebo.

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