So there could really be something in it. According to a new report by scientists in the US and Norway, conjugated lineolic acid (CLA) helps slimmers lose fat without shedding muscle. A naturally occurring fatty acid found in many dairy products and beef, CLA has been used in trials lasting several months. Average weight loss from the Norwegian trial equated to a 160 pound person losing two to three pounds over twelve weeks.

The results, which were presented to the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, are not yet conclusive, but they have been received as a strong indication that food supplements will continue to boom. As the wider population seeks gratification through food, dieting is becoming less popular, and food supplements are on the rise. Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever tapped into this trend with its recent acquisition of US food supplement group SlimFast, and will doubtless be eagerly awaiting more positive test results from CLA trials.

It has also been suggested that CLA may help combat certain types of cancer.

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