Olestra: or WOE?

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Olestra: or WOE?


Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a way the diet crazed society of America could get around eating fat, but still enjoy the savory taste that accompanies it? Well, miraculously, it is possible through a product called Olestra. This seemingly perfect product created by Proctor and Gamble was recently approved by the FDA for use as a substitute for fat in snack foods such as potato and corn chips. “Olestra is a zero calorie fat replacement intended to replace 100% of the fat used in the preparation of savory foods and snacks” (http://www.olestra.com). This miracle creation seems to be the perfect answer to the nutritionists and health professionals’ recommendation of decreased fat in the diet. What better way to lower your fat intake than by not changing your diet and continuing to eat the foods you love? Proctor and Gamble focused on America's weak point: over-eating and their obsession with appearances to create a multimillion dollar invention: junk food that is “non-fat.” Although the hazardous effects of Olestra are still under intensive study, consumers everywhere are demanding products with this artificial fat substitute.

Fat Substitutes

Fat substitutes come in various different kinds. There are those that are absorbed into the body and those that are not absorbed into the body. Olestra is one that is not absorbed into the body. It passes through the digestive system and is excreted as waste and never used. These seem harmless, but in actuality the harm is not involved in the fat intake, it is in the nutrient absorption disruption. For those fat substitutes which are absorbed, the consumer needs to consider the elimination of the fat substitute, so the problem of absorbing fat does not seem to be resolved with that product.

The Chemical Composition of Olestra

Olestra is a sucrose polyester structure of six to eight fatty acids bound together by a sucrose core. It is a synthetic fat composed of sucrose and edible oils. Olestra can be used as a fat substitute virtually anywhere because of its flexibility of chain length and saturation levels on the sucrose molecule (http://www.cochrancorp.com/faq.htm).

Why is Olestra Effective?

Olestra’s effectiveness is due to the fact that it is not digested or absorbed into the body and therefore it adds no calories or fat to the diet.
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