To investigate the effects of three different conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) preparations containing different ratios of CLA isomers on insulin signalling, fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial function, Sprague–Dawley rats were fed a high-fat diet either unsupplemented or supplemented with one of three CLA preparations at 1 % of the diet for 8 weeks. The first CLA preparation contained approximately 30 % cis-9, trans-11 (c9, t11)-CLA isomer and 40 % trans-10, cis-12 (t10, c12)-CLA isomer (CLA-mix). The other two preparations were an 80:20 mix (c9, t11-CLA-mix) or a 10:90 mix of two CLA isomers (t10, c12-CLA-mix). Insulin resistance was decreased in all three supplemented groups based on the results of homeostasis model assessment and the revised quantitative insulin-sensitivity check index. The phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 on serine decreased in the livers of all three supplemented groups, while subsequent Akt phosphorylation increased only in the t10, c12-CLA-mix group. Both the c9, t11-CLA-mix and the t10, c12-CLA-mix increased the expression of hepatic adiponectin receptors R1 and 2, which are thought to enhance insulin sensitivity and fat oxidation. The c9, t11-CLA-mix increased protein and mRNA levels of PPARα, acyl-CoA oxidase and uncoupling protein, which are involved in fatty acid oxidation and energy dissipation. The c9, t11-CLA-mix enhanced mitochondrial function and protection against oxidative stress by increasing the activities of cytochrome c oxidase, manganese-superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase and the level of GSH. In conclusion, all three CLA preparations reduced insulin resistance. Among them, the c9, t11-CLA-mix was the most effective based on the parameters reflecting insulin resistance and fat oxidation, and mitochondrial antioxidative enzyme activity in the liver.