Potato Chip Diet?

This is by far the weirdest diet tip I’ve ever heard. And I do mean EVER.  I spent the weekend at a conference organized by our State association, the TXANP (Texas Association of Naturopathic Physicians) and our topic was environmental medicine.  Environmental medicine is essentially a study of the various toxins in the environment (depressing) and how we can get rid of them. One tip, in a conference full of great information, stands out. Mostly because it involves junk food.

Detoxify your fat with 7 potato chips a day. What???

Does anyone else remember the fake oil in fried food that lets you eat fried junk food – potato chips mostly – but not absorb any of the fats?  I mostly remember it because the unfortunate side effect was nothing short of ‘anal leakage,’ which is terrifyingly vivid and  enough to earn Saturday Night Live notoriety.  Well, apparently now we have a valid use for this artificial fat (The trade name is Olestra) and a reason to eat fat-free potato chips (but only 7 per day, because god knows you don’t want the whole anal leakage thing).

Apparently by eating a small amount of this artificial fat, you are actually giving your body an unlikely route to detox.  Not only that, it helps you to detox some particularly hard to reach toxins.  Here’s how it works:

  1. When your body really can’t deal with a toxin, it stores it somewhere where it won’t do too much harm.  If that toxin is water soluble it’s stored in places like your bones, and if it’s a fat soluble toxin then you just pack it away in your fat cells.  Fat soluble toxins include dioxin, PCBs, formaldehyde, plastics and pesticides.
  2. Because your body can’t deal with it that toxin just sits there and detoxes incredibly slowly – usually over many many years.  While that fat is toxic it is incredibly hard for your body to burn, simply because it’s dangerous.  If your body uses the fat from that fat cell then it has to deal with the toxins, so your body avoids using that fat – this means weight loss is harder.
  3. Part of the reason your body can’t burn that fat is because it’s hard to eliminate fats in your digestive tract because we’re thrifty – even if we do get those toxic fats out, our thrifty hoarder genes pull them right back in because they might come in handy.  This is where the artificial fat comes in.
  4. The reason this artificial fat is “fat-free” is because it’s totally undigestible, so it stays in your digestive tract after you’ve eaten your 7 fat-free potato chips.  That means that your body can dump those toxins out of long-term storage in your fat cells and into a new form of storage, which is the artificial oils from the no-fat chips.
  5. Essentially, your body gets to transfer toxins from inside your fat cells, to the fats traveling through your digestive tract, which means that suddenly your body can start burning the fat in your fat cells like it’s supposed to because the fat in your cells isn’t toxic anymore.  Woohoo!

So, although I wouldn’t normally suggest putting fat-free potato chips anywhere near your mouth, this is forcing me to revise my thinking.  Now – I don’t want to give you the impression that I’m condoning these as a food source, they’re not food.  There’s nothing about them that’s food.  They may be, however, a simple solution to a problem that is notoriously difficult to solve.  Simply taking 7 fat-free potato chips per day could give your body the perfect tool to start pulling the toxins out of your fat, and that is completely worth it.

Here’s why this is so great:

  • You’ll lose weight – once you get rid of those toxins your body can burn fat far more normally and weight will start coming off the way it should.
  • You’ll feel better – getting rid of toxins always does that.
  • You’ll avoid disease – this gets rid of the toxins that are implicated in conditions like breast cancer, thyroid disease and diabetes and therefore help yourself to avoid those conditions.  Bonus!
  • It’s cheap – detox can be a ridiculously expensive proposition, and this makes it pretty darn cheap.  At least for the fat soluble part.
  • It’s asy – it doesn’t get much easier than eating 7 fat-free potato chips per day.  I mean really.

Here are some steps you can take to make the detoxification even more effective:

  1. Drink your water -  The fat-free chips will help to detoxify the fat soluble toxins, but they’re not going to help with the water soluble ones, you need water for that. Make sure you’re getting filtered water (reverse osmosis is best) so that you’re not putting more toxins back in.
  2. Eat your fiber -  As you should know by now, I’m crazy about fiber.  Fiber is another thing that can stay in your digestive tract and bind to toxins, so why not attack your toxic monster with artificial fat and fiber?  It won’t stand a chance.
  3. Sweat -  I don’t care how you do it, but do it.  Think saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga, sweat lodges or just that much exercise.  We detoxify through our sweat as well as our digestion and urine so sweating helps you to get toxins out of your surface tissues.
  4. Take a good multivitamin -  Detox is a lot of work for your body and you need lots of vitamins and minerals to do it so plan on taking a good multi-vitamin.  Look for something in a capsule (not a tablet – those are too hard for your body to digest).  In general I like multi’s from Thorne Research or ITI.
  5. Get your exercise – The more you circulate and send blood to all of your cells, the more quickly your body can find and eliminate toxins from everywhere.  Detoxification takes time, none of this will happen overnight, but it will happen much more quickly if you’re getting your blood pumping.
  6. Castor oil – Castor oil is a great detoxifier that is so underused.  I love castor oil.  Just slather some on your skin – especially over your liver area (right side of your belly just under your rib cage), your breasts, and your fatty tissues – put on some old pj’s that you don’t care about (it’s oily so it will stain whatever you’re wearing), and go to bed like that.  It absorbs overnight and helps your body to detox through your lymph system.  I wrote a whole post about castor oil if you want to learn more.

Of course this isn’t a complete detox protocol, but it’s a really easy way to make a great start on your own.  To think something as simple (and as unlikely) as fat-free potato chips can do so much good! Just remember moderation because I’m guessing anal leakage really makes your day worse.

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