A new study says that a dietary oil combined with the hormone leptin may help people overcome some of the undesirable effects of weight loss.
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound naturally found in some meat and dairy products along with hormone leptin can provide protection against side effects following rapid fat loss with CLA.
CLA is an essential fatty acid found naturally in trace amounts primarily in beef, lamb and milk. Synthetic forms of CLA are marketed as supplements that help reduce body fat.
In the animal study, the researchers tested the effects of leptin by using mice genetically engineered so they have no leptin in their bodies. These mice consume a lot of food and their metabolism is disrupted, so they tend to be quite overweight and are called fatty mice.
Lead researcher Martha Belury, associate professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University revealed that the mice fed with diet containing CLA, but without leptin, developed resistance to insulin
And when the mice were fed CLA along with leptin, the same fat loss occurs but insulin resistance does not develop.
"So though leptin is not essential to the fat loss, it has important protective effects to maintain insulin sensitivity," said Belury.
"Fat loss is not dependent on leptin but if we didn't have leptin, CLA could have some short-term effects on insulin resistance.
"You can reduce body fat, which is a good thing for a person trying to avoid diabetes. But if that body fat is lost too rapidly, the fat has to go somewhere else and in mice, it creates insulin resistance," she added.
Sometimes, insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Lipid Research.