According to a new study that was conducted by the University of Cincinnati, Olestra – a zero-calorie substitute found in low-calorie snack food – has been shown to cause body toxins to dip. The clinic trial investigated the common snack food ingredient and Olestra has been found to speed up the removal of toxins in the body, reducing the levels of serum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in people who had been exposed to PCBs.
The study looked at twenty-eight participants, each had known high levels of PCBs before participating in the yearlong study. Half of the participants consumed roughly 12 Pringles per day that were made with vegetable oil, the other half consumed 24 Pringles per day that had been made with Olestra. Serving sizes for the participants varied in order to control for calorie count.
Those who ate the Olestra chips had a PCB rate of decrease at roughly 8%. This may not sound like much, but the control using vegitable oil chips only had a 1% reduction, meaning olestra was approximately 8x more effective at binding PCBs.
“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,” says principal investigator Ronald Jandacek, PhD
PCBs are hard to get rid of, because they’re easily absorbed into human fat and not readily excreted. Olestra is a non-absorbable fat product that Procter & Gamble developed in collaboration with the University of California, which was introduced in snack foods (most commonly used in Pringles) in the early 90s. Initial reports of indigestion issues caused the product to be reformulated before market entry. The Kellogg Company purchased the Pringles brand back in 2012.
“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 says of the clinical trial.
What Are PCBs?
PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals that referred to as chlorinated hydrocarbons. PCBs were domestically manufactured from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979. They have a range of toxicity, and vary in consistency, but all have a very long half-life. Due to their non-flammability, chemical stability, high boiling point, and electrical insulating properties, PCBs were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications including electrical, heat transfer, and hydraulic equipment; as plasticisers in paints, plastics, and rubber products; in pigments, dyes, and carbonless copy paper; and many other industrial applications. PCBs have been shown to cause a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and effects on the immune system and other areas.
This news is exciting primarily because until now there was no effective way to bind fat-soluble toxins effectively, ad remove them from the body. If olestra is this effective, couldn’t a concentrated effort to improve its binding capacity potentially double its 8x advantage over vegitable oil? Also, we need to factor in that olestra also binds fat-soluble vitamins like beta-carotene, meaning supplements may be necessary when it is used therapeutically.