Is Dieting Healthy?

It seems like everywhere you look, someone is doing some type of diet. Low carb, Mediterranean, Paleo, etc, there are so many to list, which all have one goal in mind–weightloss. Some diets provide quicker results than others, but what kind of side-effects/health benefits, other than weight loss do these diets have?

Paul Arciero, Skidmore College exercise scientist found that a balanced, protein-pacing low-calorie diet that includes intermittent fasting not only achieves long-term weight loss but also helps release toxins in the form of PCBs from the body fat stores, in addition to enhancing heart health and reducing oxidative stress. A “protein-pacing” caloric restriction diet cuts back on calories and includes 4 to 6 meals a day, which include 20 to 25 grams of protein.protein diet

His research results are discussed in “Serum Polychlorinated Biphenyls Increase and Oxidative Stress Decreases with a Protein-Pacing Caloric Restriction Diet in Obese Men and Women,” which is published in the latest edition of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (Arciero-Protein-Pacing & Toxins).

In each case, Arciero first compared the results of the P-CR diet between obese men and women following a 12-week weight loss diet and subsequently compared the P-CR diet with those achieved by the heart-healthy diet over a 52-week period. The 12-week P-CR diet was equally effective at reducing body weight (>24 lbs, 10%), oxidative stress (25%), and arterial stiffness (12%) and increasing toxin release (25%) in women and men. Following the 52-week phase, P-CR demonstrated improvements over the traditional heart-healthy diet in maintaining weight loss; reducing artery stiffness and releasing toxins.

“The heart-healthy diet has proven health benefits,” Arciero said, “but it’s important to continue to research and identify additional dietary strategies that may help improve individual and public health.”

A toxin-fighting response

His findings on toxins can help allay concerns that weight loss—which releases toxins into the blood—could have a negative effect on dieters’ health.

Environmental pollutants and other toxins are stored in fatty tissue. During weight loss, fat breaks down and toxins are discharged into the bloodstream. Scientists have expressed concern that the released toxins could increase dieters’ oxidative stress and their risk of developing serious conditions, including hormone (endocrine) disruption (reproductive and fertility problems), heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Arciero’s research findings—that a P-CR diet does not increase disease markers and, in fact, can aid detoxification and reduce oxidative stress—help reduce those fears. Furthermore, the findings suggest that those who are not overweight or obese could also benefit from a P-CR diet.

“Although weight loss typically leads to improved health, we know that in those who are overweight and obese—and, therefore, storing excessive toxins—there is the potential for the release of toxins to impact the body in negative ways,” Arciero explained. “We wanted to capture the release of those toxins and the body’s response.