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How Do Potato Chips "Cure" Toxicity?

In a strange study that used toxic substances to get rid of others, researchers from the United States and Australia treated a patient with PCB toxicity over a two-year period with olestra -- in the form of fat-free Pringles. What's even stranger: The patient's chloracne disappeared and the PCB level in fat tissue dropped dramatically.

The treatment was part of a larger study that supposedly sheds light into how "yo-yo" dieting affects the retention and re-distribution of chlorinated hydrocarbons, which include DDT, PCBs and dioxins. They also looked at the effects of the additive olestra on this redistribution and excretion of toxins from the body.

Scientists found combining olestra and caloric restriction caused a 30-fold increase in the rate of excretion of a test toxin. Moreover, the toxin's distribution into the brains of mice resulting from the restricted diet was reduced by 50 percent by olestra.

Before you run to your neighborhood grocery store in search of olestra-laced foods, however, consider all the problems this fake fat causes:

  • Decreased absorption and blood levels of fat soluble nutrients, such as vitamin E and carotenoids
  • Significant increases in gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and loose stools
  • Increased risk of dehydration due to greater water loss through diarrhea

And, potato chips -- with or without olestra -- are one of the five absolute worst foods you can eat!

EurekAlert December 17, 2004

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