Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Apr 1999

Why Are Americans So Fat?

A CLA deficiency may in part be responsible for an overweight America. Plus-Digestive Enzymes, the link to health.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

Doctors often blame high fat consumption

image Fact. Americans are overweight, but is dietary fat the reason, when members of previous generations often consumed higher percentages of dietary fat than many overweight people today?

In the 1980s, Americans gained on average of 8 pounds each, yet consumption of diet drinks and low-fat foods was much higher than in the previous decade. Today, "lite" versions of almost every processed food are being consumed by Americans obsessed with losing weight. Yet despite eating low fat foods, the fat epidemic continues unabated. Let's take a look at why so many Americans are overweight. . .

Fat that is not used for energy production is converted into new stored fat cells. CLA is essential for the transport of dietary fat into cells where it is used to build muscle and produce energy. The primary dietary sources of CLA are beef and milk. Americans are eating less red meat and drinking less whole milk in order to reduce their dietary intake of saturated fat. People often drink non-fat milk, but it's the fat content of the milk that contains CLA. Since skim milk contains virtually no CLA, those seeking to lose weight who use skim milk are depriving themselves of a potential source of this fat-reducing nutrient. In 1963, the CLA percentage in milk was as high as 2.81%. By 1992, the percentage of CLA in dairy products seldom exceeded 1%. The reason for the sharp reduction in milk CLA was because of changing feeding patterns. Cows that eat natural grass produce lots of CLA. Today's "efficient" feeding methods rely far less on natural grass. Grass-fed Australian cows have 3-to-4 times as much CLA in their meat as American cows. Most Americans thus have inadequate amounts of CLA in their diet, and this CLA deficit may be at least partially responsible for the epidemic of overweight people of all ages that now exists.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has been shown to reduce body fat in animals and humans. CLA inhibits fat storage by enhancing the ability of cell membranes (other than fat cells) to open up and allow the absorption of fats and other nutrients. CLA promotes the growth of muscles by letting nutrients into active muscle cells. That's why CLA has become such a popular supplement among body builders.

The fat reducing mechanism of CLA involves the rejuvenation of cell membranes in the muscles and connective tissues to allow fats to enter freely in order to generate energy and growth. This effect of CLA on cell membrane function is an enhancement of insulin sensitivity that may help in the overall treatment of Type II diabetes.

CLA builds muscle, reduces body fat, while protecting against atherosclerosis and a host of aging-related diseases. CLA pushes glucose (blood sugar) into muscle and connective tissue cells instead of letting it turn into bodily fat. CLA also reduces protein degradation (catabolic metabolism) that occurs with advancing age. Body builders are using CLA to help them shape their bodies. It can help develop a better-looking as well as a healthier body. The anti-cancer benefits of CLA have been documented in many studies, not only as a means of preventing cancer, but as an effective adjuvant cancer therapy. In short, the CLA supplement offered by Life Extension Foundation can facilitate proper fat transport, thereby increase muscle mass and energy. It can also help treat age-related diseases and serve as an effective anti-cancer therapy.

Enzymes: A link to health

Western diets seldom provide the food enzymes needed to properly break down and assimilate food. In response to the high protein and fat content of many diets, some people produce more gastric juices, which is a cause of acid indigestion and heartburn.

As the aging body fights harder to break down food, a serious deficiency of pancreatic enzymes can occur. Since these enzymes are needed to support cellular function, a digestive enzyme deficit may be a predisposing factor to a host of degenerative diseases. The common digestive disorders of indigestion, bloating, gas, and foul odors emanating from poorly processed food in the digestive tract can be ameliorated by the proper use of enzyme supplements and/or by ingesting many more foods in their natural state.

image Commercial enzyme supplements can help, but are often neutralized by varying ph levels of stomach acids. In response to the urgent need for a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement, The Life Extension Foundation developed a pharmaceutical enzyme complex that is formulated to be effective in a broad spectrum of stomach acid ph conditions. These enzymes facilitate that digestion of protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber and milk lactose.

Most enzyme supplements only provide a fraction of the digestive power contained in these potent capsules. SUPER DIGESTIVE ENZYME CAPS provide the broadest-spectrum of enzymes needed to efficiently process food through the digestive tract while simultaneously sparing precious pancreatic enzymes. These enzymes are manufactured under conditions that guarantee their potency. While refrigeration is not mandatory, it will help maintain full potency of the enzymes after opening the bottle. The suggested dose is to take one to four capsules immediately before meals. It is important to have these enzymes available to process food as soon as it is eaten, and these capsules burst open in the stomach within five minutes of swallowing.