Does Losing Weight Release Toxins?

It is true that certain types of potentially harmful chemicals end up stored in our fat cells. What we don’t know for sure is what effects these compounds might have on our health.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
4-minute read
Episode #438

What can you do to minimize the risks?

1. Avoid rapid weight loss

The rate at which POPs are released into the bloodstream is directly tied to the speed of weight loss. To minimize your exposure (and for all kinds of other reasons as well), I suggest losing weight slowly. Instead of trying to lose 1-2 pounds a week, try for 1-2 pounds a month.

See also: How Much Fat Can You Lose?

2. Increase protein and decrease sugar

An interesting experiment done in mice found that a diet that was higher in protein and lower in sugar seemed to reduce the amount of POPs that accumulated in the bodies of the mice and enhanced their ability to detoxify and eliminate these compounds. Of course, we’d now want to see this experiment repeated in humans. But this dietary prescription advice has so many other other potential advantages, I see no reason to wait for confirmation.

See also: How much Protein Should You Eat? and How to Reduce Added Sugar

3. Consider a Vitamin C supplement

I don’t put much stock in detox supplements that claim to support your liver or kidneys or cleanse your colon. Many are simply diuretics and/or laxatives that simply speed up your body’s natural processes, often with negative side effects. However, a recent study found that taking 1000 mg of vitamin C can help reduce the amount of POPs in the bloodstream. Because vitamin C is both safe and inexpensive, that seems to me to be a very reasonable move, especially during weight loss. 

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About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.