Scientists have uncovered a toxic underside to weight loss: the breaking down of fat cells can release a flood of "pollutants" stored there. Fat stores trap certain toxins such as DDT and PCBs. When significant amounts of fat are broken down, these chemicals are released into the bloodstream, where they may trigger disease, warn the researchers. "The dogma is that weight loss is always good, while weight gain is always bad," but that may not always hold up, warned lead researcher Dr. Duk-Hee Lee.
Hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis have been linked to these persistent organic pollutants in the body, reports MSNBC. The study found that people who lost weight had more pollutants in their bloodstream, while those who gained weight had fewer. Lee suggested exercising and sticking to a plant-based diet when gradually losing weight to help rid the body of the toxins—or simply not getting fat to begin with. (Trying to stay slim? You might want to avoid these 13 "health foods.")