Can CLA help with weight loss? [Video]

In an earlier video, I mentioned that I sometimes use CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid, as a supplement for my clients who are struggling with weight loss. But what is CLA and what does it do?

CLA is a lipid — that’s an organic substance that can’t be dissolved in water. Types of lipids include cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids; CLA is part of the fatty acid group. When taken as a supplement, CLA gets taken up into the body’s fat cells, where it can help break down stored fat and release it into the blood stream. When taken alongside a healthy diet, CLA can be a catalyst, giving the body a helping hand burning fat.

Watch: What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid?

I’m a big believer in supplements, but in my view, supplements are not something that make up for a poor diet. They’re something that works alongside a healthy and complete eating plan to enhance certain aspects of health. In this case, the breakup of stored fat.

Is CLA right for me?

In my clinics, I often use conjugated linoleic acid with my clients who are struggling to lose weight, often post-menopausal women with hormonal imbalances. But I don’t use it with everyone. My clinics are collaborative; I consult with medical doctors and other professionals on supplementation, and you can do that too — by partnering with your own doctor.

Check out the video — there have been some opposing studies on CLA and its use in those with diabetes. The most recent research out of New York University actually found it to be beneficial, but if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, please discuss CLA with your doctor before adding it.  Your doctor may run a few tests, including a lipid panel (LDL and HDL cholesterols, and triglycerides), C-reactive protein assessment, fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin and hemoglobin A1C.

When I do use CLA with a client, I typically recommend a dose of 3.5 grams a day, or 3,500 mg, split into two doses. But this isn’t a situation where more is better; too much CLA can make you feel nauseous or contribute to diarrhea.

Choosing a brand of CLA

CLA can be a very dirty ingredient — you want to be sure it’s free of heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides. And be aware that about 80% of the CLA out there is soy-based, so be sure you choose a soy-free brand.

For more of my thoughts on CLA, watch the video

Links included in this article will sometimes direct you to the website, where you can learn more about and purchase many of the products mentioned. Please know that Haylie Pomroy has a financial interest in anything that is sold from

86 thoughts on “Can CLA help with weight loss? [Video]

  1. Hi Haylie, I have a history of child/ teen obesity and lost 60 lbs with diet and excercise,( over 5 years and yo-yo’d 20 lbs during the next few years. Then I messed my poor body up with hcg, only to gain it back.. And then took much more extreme measures, juice fasts and bulimia… Ect to lose another 15 lbs. I can’t seem to eat without gaining, have u had much experience with this kind of situation? I’m on week 2, no loss no gain, SUPER tired all the time! I’m looking to lose 10lbs or so, do u think its possible? Anything special I should be doing? Any encouragement/ advice? Over a week now and no bulimia episodes yay!!!

    • You are a trooper. The good news is that for two weeks, you have been eating well — lots of food, healthy and clean, and you are not gaining. You have really been through the ringer, and it may take some time for your metabolism just to stabilize. Please partner with your doctor to stay on track. The tiredness could be detoxing — make sure you are eating lots of veggies. Try adding lemon to your food and water. You could also try maca root tea, which has some stimulant properties but is not caffeinated. Good luck.

  2. Oh by the way I’ve continually yo-yo’d 10-15 lbs.. Trying to get back down to my realistic comfy weight… Not 20, that’d be way to much I think.?….

  3. i have been reading all your info about CLA.. can i use if i had a total hysterectomy? I gained so much weight taking pain medications

  4. ive completed my 28 days plus a few more weeks. i still have a remaining 5-7 pounds that wont come off. would cla be appropriate for this?

    • Hi Terri. It could be. Please check with your doctor to make sure there are no reasons not to use it. Another thing you can try is to take a short break. Spend a week or two on maintenance, then do a couple more weeks of the diet. A break in the routine sometimes helps people get un-stuck. Good luck!

  5. Do you think this supplement would positively assist weight loss if strictly following your plan while having a PCOS diagnosis and some adrenal issues? Wondering about side effects and if its worthwhile to add this supplement to my diet. Thanks!!

    • Haylie advises consulting your physician to be sure CLA is right for you and will not conflict with medications.

  6. Hi there! I started the diet on 7/29/13 and have stayed on it religiously. In phase 1 and 2, I lost 5.8 lbs and promptly regained .8 lbs in phase 3. I was so disappointed when I saw the scale going back up, even though I was following everything religiously. I made my grocery list, drove 40 miles to get everything I needed, took ‘before’ photos, tracked everything, down to my water intake, on a working spread sheet… Today is 8/8 and I had to ‘re-lose’ the .8 lbs from last week, so I am only down .6 lbs as of today. Is losing and regaining normal on this diet? I am so disappointed….

    • ditto ditto on all the diets ive tried-lose gain gain lose discourage –lost 50..held it 6years!! and slowly put 40 back on–Grrrr

      • Ditto to that! I’m in this for the long haul since I have about 75 more lbs to go. I believe in weighing the Friday morning (just before the weekend foods make me blow up a little), but ONLY on week 4. I’ve been dieting for about 42 years and I found that weighing myself frequently leads to stress-and stress makes you hungry! I lost 12 lbs the first month and 6 lbs when I weighed myself the 4th week on Friday morning of my second 28 days. Do I care that I only lost 6 lbs the second month? NO, because I actually lost weight! Plus, I know that the first week of diets people lose a lot of water weight. Haylie says on the front of the book “Lose UP TO 20 pounds of weight in 28 days” Not that you will lose 20 pounds of weight in 28 days.How much you lose depends on how much abuse your body has gone through over the years.We didn’t gain this weight overnight so we won’t lose it overnight either, so keep on pushing! You CAN do it! Good luck everyone!

        • Thanks Mary Beth, your comment really encourage me to stay on path. I’ve been trying all sorts of diet over the years and I can say I have a very resistent metabolism. So, fisrt week I’ve been losing 7 lbs and nothing since. I’m now on my third week and thanks to you I’ll keep going for another cycle (adding all the great tips from the videos).

  7. I tried CLA and it didn’t seem to make a difference for me. How significant to you feel it really is on a diet and exercise program and how long do you figure it takes to see a difference?

    • Haylie advises to check with your doctor and let him or her know you’re on a nutrition based weight loss plan and want to add it. Be sure to have your lipid levels checked frequently b/c weight loss can change them.

  8. Very interesting information, thank you. I had my gall bladder removed many years ago, am post menopause, and the weight is sticking. Can I use CLA? No good talking to my Dr about this…Canadian health system isn’t exactly proactive in managing issues to prevent disease, sad to say.

    • Ren, If you get an answer on this, please let me know. Great question. I would love to hear Haylie’s comments on this?

  9. I was wondering if you have ever worked with anyone that has gastroparesis? My body has trouble absorbing nutrition so it hangs on to everything I eat.. refuses to lose weight. I need some help getting nutrition in to my body so it will let go of fat.

  10. Hi–Someone said Haylie doesn’t recommend taking CLA daily, but her latest video says to take 3-5 g a day. Is there a frequency you recommend? And is it OK to use during P1 and 2 even though it has fat? Thanks!

  11. Just wondering if one needs to continue to take this supplement once you start, or if you stop taking it once you’ve reached your goal weight?

  12. I have a 2 part question….all coming back to “have i ruined my 3 weeks and need to start over?”. I’ve just finished week 3 and down only 2.3 pounds. I’m fine with slow weight loss if my metabolism is being fixed, but concerned I’ve negated benefits of last 3 weeks. I struggle with anxiety and depression and the past 2 weeks I’ve had TONS of stress in my life…my friend thinks my stress is keeping my body from losing weight. If I’ve been so stressed (by the way. Getting massage and doing yoga to work on that), will my body still reset the metabolism or do I need to start over back at day one. Besides a few minor mistakes I’ve followed to phase foods completely. I have eaten some extra fats or carbs. (Depending which phase)… As an old stress eating pattern…. Maybe a few extra TB nut butter or an extra tortilla. If I’ve overdone portions have I still been resetting metabolism even though its slowed weightloss? Do I need to start back at week 1 & try again? Help!

    • You are still doing yourself some good. You may have slowed the process, but you have gone a long way in avoiding wheat, dairy, sugar, etc. You can add as many extra weeks as you like. It’s a process, and your body will not be suddenly able to tell you “I’m healed” — you’ll know by how you feel.

      • Thanks Christine. Haylie always talks about must do the 4 weeks straight and then can add one week here or there. Do I count the 3 weeks even though they were not ideal. I have a wedding in 1 1/2 weeks, so will have to go off then. So will my 4 weeks count as working and then I can add 1 week at a time in the future or will I later need to do 4 weeks in a row? I’d rather do maintenance for a while and then do 1 week at a time with is less overwhelming, but if I need to redo the important 4 weeks I can do that. Does that make sense. Do I need to redo 4 weeks or will I have my “4 week” baseline in?

        • Do whatever you need to do to make it work. You can add weeks here and there, or do a month at a time. It’s entirely up to you once you are in maintenance. Then next time you have a full month available, you can make a concerted effort and do the whole four weeks.

    • You don’t need to be on Facebook. This blog is a great source of info! Of course there is hope for you. Many, many post-menopausal woman have successfully done the diet.

  13. I’m just wondering that if you don’t have a gall bladder, should you use CLA for fat loss. I don’t have a doctor that can help with this question. He thinks pharmaceuticals are the answer. I prefer more natural solutions.

  14. I’ve been an incessant dieter since I was 16… Now 32. I lost about 15lb through a vigorous yoga practice and a low carb diet but it’s creeping back on. I’ve swung between Lo Carb to No Carb for a couple of years, bar the occasional splurge and cheating… Or stress related eating. I am concerned about going into carbohydrates and fats again. I feel I might gain weight. I need to lose about 10-15 lb again. What do you suggest? Have I totally messed up my metabolism? Is the FMD a good idea for me?

    • The FMD is designed to help those who are carb-resistant. Haylie talks about this in her book, working with carb-resistant clients.

  15. I have read all the comments and watched Halie’s video on CLA. I think it is right for me, so I am wondering if I start taking it, how soon before I should see some results? I don’t want to waste money on supplements that are not helping, how soon should I be able to tell?

  16. I have now been on the diet 6 weeks, starting week 7. I must admit to a little frustration. Week 1 I lost 9 lbs. Week 2 I lost 2 lbs, week 3 I gained 2 lbs, week 4 I lost 6 lbs, week 5 I neither gained nor lost week 6 I lost 2 lbs. I have been religiously following the diet. Any suggestions?

    • These peaks and valleys can happen! Sounds like you are doing well overall — 17 pounds in six weeks. Hang in there — it does seem to come in stops and starts for some people.

  17. Hi, I have been on your diet for three weeks now and am still having trouble with days 3 and 4, I can’t seem to make it through the second day. Any suggestions?

  18. Hello Haylie,
    I take an omega supplement every day and sometimes use Triphala for digestion issues. I wanted to know if these two supplements are okay to take during the FMD?

  19. Please help reassure me!!! I am half way through week three of the FMD. I feel great though I have not lost an ounce. I have been following the program perfectly with one error in Phase three where I had a fruit after dinner. I have been using all of the recipes out of Haylie’s book and exceeding the exercise requirements. I keep reading about all the great successes and I must admitt I am extremely discouraged. My goal is to loose just over 20lbs which I have gained over the last 5 years. I keep focusing on the fact this is a 28 day program and to be patient, though I need reassurance or advice about why this may not be working for me to continue. Please help.

    • Hi Lesley, if your goal is just over 20 pounds, does that mean you have been eating 1 1/2 portions? The first thing you can try to eating the standard portion and more veggies if needed. Try that first!

    • Haylie does recommend CLA. However, she does not recommend garcinia cambogia to her clinical clients. She isn’t convinced of its efficacy.

  20. Christine, I have been taking SafSlim the past 2 months, & just found out it is NOT CLA, only LA. Is this okay? Contains no GMO, gluten, dairy, wheat, soy. or yeast. 1T contains 3883 mg of LA. Thanks for your help!

  21. Hi there!
    I am an 18 year old female. I workout at least 4 times a week, doing high intensity workouts that include weight training. I would love to just loose 10lbs of fat, however I’ve been trying for the past year and it’s just not happening. I eat very clean, no carbs, artificial sugars, etc. I am approximately 120lbs at 5’1. Is this supplement right for me? I used to have an eating disorder 2 years ago so my metabolism may still be recovering and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to loose the weight?


  22. Does CLA only target belly fat? My stomach area is not my problem area. I hold my fat hips/butt/thighs. Would this supp not work for me?

  23. Will CLA help me? I am 350lbs, 40yr old, 6′ 1″. My target weight is 220lbs.

    Here is the thing. I do have the ability to lose weight on a very strict diet. But I get bored of eating “extreme” healthy due to lack of taste.

    I am willing to eat healthy organically however I don’t want one cheat meal to halt my weekly progress. I am an endomorph body type and my metabolism is just slow. Will CLA help me out?

    • Hi John. Here, Haylie is talking about CLA used to enhance a healthy eating plan such as the Fast Metabolism Diet (which has lots of great food and tons of recipes). Haylie does not address the use of CLA on its own.

      • Hi Christine,

        Thank you for the reply and I understand. Let me restate my question: Since I want to lose 130lbs, if I follow the FMD, following the healthy eating plan on your program using CLA as a supplement, can I achieve my goal?

        • Hi John. There is no way anyone can say that sure. No one can predict anyone’s weight loss in advance. I can tell you that Haylie uses this course of action with her clinical clients, and has had good success combining the FMD eating plan and CLA.

    • She sometimes posts on Facebook about this — she varies her routine according to how she is feeling, and where she is in her monthly cycle.

  24. Am trying to loose 10lbs can I take CLA? I don’t have time to work out due to my heavy workload. Please what’s the best way to loose this.
    Thank you

    • Hi Jamie. You can still do the Fast Metabolism Diet even if you don’t have time for exercise. It’s unlikely that CLA alone (or any pill, for that matter) will result in weight loss.

  25. Hi. I was taking cla and working out every day. Fantastic. Love it my tummy was a washboard and my booty looked great. Then… I got really sick. Flu, strep and a sinus infection. I was off cla for 4 weeks. My belly fat came back 2 fold.
    I was still feeling sluggish and just all over sick and was diagnosed with mono.
    My question is how much exercise is required to get back on track? Is yoga OK? Will I see results? Or am I taking the recommended amount all for nothing?

    • Ugh. That sounds terrible. So sorry to hear you were so ill. Go easy on exercise while you get your strength back — the exercise on the diet is not nearly as important as the food/phases. Feel better soon.

  26. I am not sure if I should post this here or Facebook, since it is about supplements/hormones, but I’ll give it a shot here first.

    Does taking birth control pills have an affect on weight loss with the FMD (will weight loss be slower or null if on BC)? Also, will taking Haylie’s Metabolism DIM supplement hinder or alter birth control effectiveness?

    • Hi Michelle. This isn’t a side effect I have heard of, but people have different reactions all the time to foods and nutrients they may not be used to. You can discontinue the CLA and see what happens.

  27. How can I tell whether a brand of CLA is ‘dirty’ please? I have found one that is derived from safflower, but no idea what to look for re heavy metals etc. I’m in the UK so I can’t buy Haylie’s products. Thanks.

    • That is a good question. You can’t tell by looking at it. Haylie recommends choosing a manufacturer/brand with a superb and transparent reputation and policies. Ask at your health food store which brands are considered the best quality.

  28. I need a little help I’m 22 years old and weight about 140 I’m athletic I lifted weights for a while but not to the point that I’m swollen.. I started to do lots of high interval exercise because I’m trying to lose body fat. I have the right amount of muscle I want and looking to get a ripped look but having trouble getting rid of the fat. I probably have about 10 to 15 pounds of fat I need to get rid of to reach my goal. My question is can I take conjugated linoleic acid and garcinia cambogia together to help with weight loss..please email me at

    • Hi Jesse. Haylie does use CLA with some of her clients. She does not use gardinia cambogia. She has said that she doesn’t think it’s terrible, but she doesn’t find it effective, so does not use it.

  29. Gaining weight in week 3…

    Hi, I’m in Phase 2 of Week 3 on FMD and I’ve gained 2.4lbs from my lowest weight 5 days ago (back in the start of Phase 3 over the weekend). I’m a 33 year old female, trying to lose 10-15lbs total. I lost over 5 lbs the first week and 1.5 lbs the second week and now I am gaining in week 3. I am following the plan, the portions, and drinking my water. I eat and prepare everything at home and I haven’t been cheating! Could my body just be readjusting? I did notice I tended to gain a pound or so after Phase 3 the last two weeks, but this week it has continued to go up since I hit my low over the weekend. It’s gone up Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this week. I always do at least one day of exercise (or “activity” for P3) per phase. This week, I did two days of cardio in Phase 1 and am going to do weights today for my second day of Phase 2. Any advice or encouragement would be appreciated! Thank you!

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