Is shedding pounds dangerous?
Can making pounds melt away actually pose some health risks? Well, a new study provides some provocative evidence suggesting that it might.
Duk Hee-Lee of Kyungpook National University in South Korea and colleagues studied data collected by federal health officials about 1,099 U.S. adults about their weight loss and blood levels of substances known as persistent organic pollutants or POPs. POPs are a class of chemicals created by industrial processes that have been linked to a variety of illnesses, including immune system disorders, dementia, diabetes and cancer. POPs can be stored in fat tissue, raising the possibility that they are released into the bloodstream when someone loses weight.
In fact, the researchers found that those who lost weight had higher levels of the POPs in their blood than who gained weight, according to a report in the International Journal of Obesity.The relationship was especially strong when someone kept the pounds off for 10 years.
The researchers stressed that it's far from clear that the differences in levels in POPs that they found were enough to really have a negative effect on health. But previous studies have found an apparent association between weight loss and increased risk for heart disease, dementia and other serious illness. Researchers long thought that was because people often lose weight when they have those health problems. And it might be the health problems that are actually causing the weight loss. But the new findings may challenge that assumption, and indicate that it really might be the other way around, the researchers said. If that's the case, they say, doctors might have to factor the relative risks and benefits of weight loss when counseling their patients.
September 8, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Environmental Toxins , General Health , Obesity
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