Garcinia Cambogia and CLA are two alternative weight loss aids that have received a lot of media attention in the past couple years as a quick and easy way to shave off a few unwanted pounds. Both are marketed as a healthy way to lose weight without extreme dieting or surgical procedure, and show some exciting new possibilities for those looking to lose weight quickly. While fundamentally different in production and long-term results, the two work in similar ways, and have produced similar results in early trials.
Garcinia Cambogia is essentially an extract from a saptree native to Indonesia, called Garcinia gumma-gutta. While Indonesians use the small, pumpkin-like fruits to aid in digestion or to add a sour flavor to different types of curry, certain essential oils extracted from the rinds can be mixed with other extracts or used on their own as a dietary aid—Garcinia Cambogia.
Garcinia Cambogia works by stopping the body from making an enzyme called citrate lyase, which the body would have used to make fat, helping to slow down or even halt fat production altogether. In addition, Garcinia Cambogia has been shown to increase the level of serotonin in the brain, which may help reduce hunger or the craving for unhealthy foods.
CLA, or “Conjugated Linoleic Acid”, is a chemically altered fatty acid that simulates the natural trans fats found in certain types of food. While conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can be found in natural foods, particularly in beef, lamb, or goat meat, the CLA used and being marketed as a weight loss aid is constructed by altering the placement of the double carbon-oxygen bonds in vegetable oil to create a specific strain of conjugated linoleic acid.
CLA works in a similar way to Garcinia Cambogia to inhibit fat production, reduce food intake and stimulate fat breakdown by causing apoptosis, or cell death, in the body’s white adipose tissue.
Both supplements show a lot of promise from their early rounds of testing, but CLA’s effectiveness seems to plateau after the first couple months, providing a few months of rapid fat loss followed by a long period of little to no weight loss at all. As a result, individuals treated with CLA lost only 3 pounds more than individuals who had not been given the supplement.
With such a negligible difference in weight loss for the individuals in the test and control groups of the CLA study, it remains unclear whether the diet aid has any real health effect beyond a placebo effect or if the weight loss would have occurred naturally as the result of the increase in exercise and healthy eating choices that typically accompanied the trials.
In such cases, the health benefits appear to outweigh the potential risks, but it is important to remember that both supplements are still in the early phase of testing. Both have properties that are still unknown, and, like Garcinia Cambogia, both may ultimately be revealed to have multiple health benefits.
While Garcinia Cambogia and CLA can be purchased in pill or powder form, Garcinia Cambogia can be added to many dishes to give them an international flair. Kaeng som, a Southeast Asian fish soup or curry, takes its characteristic sour flavor from the Garcinia Cambogia fruit, and can be prepared using Garcinia Cambogia powder or extract. Try adding a few teaspoons of powder to a fruit smoothie or a glass of lemonade for a delicious drink that will boost energy and curb hunger for the rest of the day!
There are a lot of alternative weight loss aids on the market right now, and a lot of people are looking to lose weight in a way that is safe and natural. Both CLA and Garcinia Cambogia seem to be a solution for this problem; while both work in similar ways, the potential health risks of CLA may outweigh its benefits. Based on preliminary trials, the natural remedy of Garcinia Cambogia seems to be the more holistic choice.