New Year, New You: Time for an Oil Change!

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I think if we’re being totally honest, most of us would admit that our New Year’s resolutions don’t always work out. Not long after January 1st, we abandon our well-intended efforts to get in shape, clean out that garage or read Infinite Jest.

I get it. Those are big tasks and they take a lot of commitment and work.

So let me suggest an easier New Year’s resolution, one which you can actually make, and keep. It’s not only easy to do, but delivers a powerful systemic benefit to your overall health.

Get an oil change.

Inflammation Nation

Americans actually don’t eat too much fat—they eat too much of the wrong fats. We’ve all been told to remove saturated fat from our diet, and to replace it with “vegetable oil”. We’ve been given this advice pretty much since 1980 when the USDA and the US Department of Health and Human Services jointly released the very first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. (1)

Unfortunately, that advice has turned out to be less than wonderful. Vegetable oil—with its high concentration of pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids—is one of the major culprits in inflammation (2), which underlies nearly every degenerative disease we know of. (3,4)

We are literally living in “inflammation nation” and a big part of the reason is the oils we consume so liberally. Step one of our oil change is to lower the amount of vegetable oils we consume and increase our intake of anti-inflammatory Omega-3s. (We’ll come back to that in a moment.)

Step two of our oil change involves a dietary change: Replace some calories from processed carbohydrates with calories from healthy fat. Everyone already knows how to put the brakes on carb consumption—just cut back on bread, pasta and cereal—but where do you get those replacement calories from?

Glad you asked.

Barlean’s has two wonderful products you should know about. When you swap some empty calories from processed carbs with nutritionally dense and beneficial fats like the ones I’m about to tell you about, you’ll see a difference in how you feel within a month. Even sooner, if you’re anything like my clients.


CLA: The Fat You Won’t Find In Factory Farmed Meat!

CLA stands for conjugated linoleic acid. It’s a fatty acid that’s made by the “bugs” in the stomach of ruminants such as grass-fed cows, and is found in the foods—like meat and butter—that comes from those cows. (This is important—factory farmed meat does not contain CLA for reasons having to do with the grain-based diet of factory farmed animals). (5)

And CLA has a long and storied resume that goes back several decades. According to WEB-MD, CLA is “a popular dietary supplement with claims of helping people lose fat, maintain weight loss, retain lean muscle mass, and control type 2 diabetes.” (6)

Indeed, there are a number of studies demonstrating weight loss, body fat loss and other metabolic improvements. (7,8) One study even showed a benefit in preventing holiday weight gain! (9)

But there are also some studies that did not show these benefits, or showed them less clearly. (10)


Scientists now suspect that the reason has to do with what form of CLA was used in the studies—and the dosage.

Without going into a lot of boring biochemistry, it’s important to note that CLA comes in 28 different forms, called isomers. (11) And studies can (and do) produce wildly different results depending on the isomer composition of the CLA used in the study.

The best and most reliable CLA studies use Tonalin CLA™, which is a 50/50 mix of the two most important isomers in CLA.

And Tonalin CLA™ is the only kind used in Barlean’s Seriously Delicious® CLA. A single dose (2 teaspoons) is only 35 calories, so you could easily take two doses a day—a mere 70 calories—which is the dosage I recommend to clients.

If you replaced 70 calories of bread with 4 teaspoons of Barlean’s Seriously Delicious® CLA, you’d be doing your metabolism a major favor!


MCT Oil: The Fat That Burns Like A Carb

I first wrote about MCT oil back in the very early 90’s, before anyone was talking about coconut oil or keto diets. In those days, MCT was a well-kept secret among competitive bodybuilders. Bodybuilders needed energy to complete their workouts but couldn’t afford to let those calories turn into body fat!

MCT oil was the answer.

“MCT” stands for medium chain triglycerides. MCTs are a particular category of fatty acids with an unusual property: they behave in the body more like carbohydrates than fats. (12) The body prefers to use them for energy rather than for storage, so they tend to not wind up on your hips, butt and thighs.

Decades later, when keto became all the rage, MCT oil enjoyed a huge surge in popularity because they convert to ketones more readily than some other fats. In fact, in the many hospitals across the country that specialize in treating pediatric epilepsy with high-fat, ketogenic diets, MCT oil is the preferred source of fat. (13)


What’s the difference between MCTs and Coconut Oil?

Though many people routinely confuse MCT oil with coconut oil, they are not the same. There are four distinct “medium chain triglycerides”, (C-6, C-8, C-10 and C-12) all of which are found in MCT oil. Coconut oil has all of them as well, but three of them are in tiny amounts, whereas the fourth—C-12, aka lauric acid—makes up 50% or more of the fat in coconut oil. (14)

The lauric acid in coconut oil has many health benefits, but burning up quickly the way the other MCTs do, is not one of them. If you want the ketone-forming, fast burning energy of true MCTs, you’re better off with MCT oil. If you’re primarily after the anti-viral, anti-microbial effects of lauric acid, stick with coconut oil.)


Emulsification, Anyone?

Both Barlean’s CLA and MCT oil are available in Barlean’s famous Seriously Delicious® formulation. Oils in the Seriously Delicious® line are emulsified, meaning they are pre-digested and available to the body for immediate use. They also happen to taste delicious.

And while we’re on the subject of emulsification—let’s not forget the original series of Seriously Delicious® products that won multiple consumer awards for taste and innovation: The Seriously Delicious® Omega line.

As mentioned earlier, the advice to consume more vegetable oil has inadvertently led to an overconsumption of Omega-6s and an under-consumption of Omega-3s. You can help reverse that inflammatory scenario by reducing your intake of vegetable oil and increasing your intake of Omega-3s.

And there’s no better (or more yummy) way to do that than with the high-potency Seriously Delicious® Omega-3 line, available as both flaxseed oil and fish oil, and in a wide range of delicious flavors (my favorite is the Key Lime Pie).

Healthy fats—like Omega-3s, CLA and MCT oil—provide energy, nutrition and protection in ways that damaged and inflammatory fats do not and never will.

Jonny Bowden is a board-certified nutritionist, a nationally known expert on weight loss, metabolism and health, the best-selling author of 15 books and a member of the Barlean’s Scientific Advisory Board.