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Chips With Olestra Cause Body Toxins to Dip, Study Finds

Update Date: Apr 10, 2014 10:20 AM EDT

A snack food ingredients called olestra has been found to speed up the removal of toxins from the body, according to a recent clinical trial. 

According to the observations made in the trial, olestra - a zero-calorie fat substitute found in low-calorie snack foods - reduced the levels of serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in people who were exposed to PCBs.

High levels of PCBs in the body have been previously linked to elevated hypertension and diabetes. 

"The findings showed that the rate of PCB disappearance from the participants that ate olestra was markedly faster during the one-year trial than that before the trial," said principal investigator Ronald Jandacek, PhD, an adjunct professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at UC's College of Medicine, in the press release.

Olestra is a non-absorbable fat product that was developed by P&G in collaboration with UC and was introduced in snack food in 1996. 

"Olestra is a fat that passes through the body and remarkably it has revealed a potential health benefit of removing PCBs. Our early work with animal studies predicted that we would see this effect in people," Jandacek said.

 Around 30 residents of Anniston, Ala., having high levels of PCBs participated in the study. Half of them consumed 12 Pringles a day that were made with vegetable oil. The other half had to eat 24 Pringles made with olestra.

Researchers found that the half who had the olestra chips had a PCB rate of decrease of 8 percent compared to 1 percent increase in the other half who ate the chips with vegetable oil.

"Olestra's effect on PCB removal is apparently the result of solubilizing fat-soluble compounds like PCBs in the intestine and the solubilization reduces absorption of these compounds into the body," added Jandacek, who was also the principal investigator on a 2005 study that found that olestra removed toxins from animals.

The findings of the clinical trial have been published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

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