The FDA Food Advisory Committee was close to unanimous in its agreement Wednesday that the gastrointestinal side effects of the fake fat olestra do not significantly impact public health.
The panel also concurred that olestra's interference with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and carotenoids does not pose a public health threat. Studies indicate that these vitamins and the carotenoids may have disease-fighting properties. Some nutritionists have expressed concern that since olestra inhibits absorption of these compounds, intake of the substance may lead to an increased risk for cancer and heart disease.
Olestra, developed by Procter & Gamble, is a calorie-free fat substitute used as an ingredient in snacks and chips made by Frito-Lay.
Currently, olestra snack packages bear a boxed label stating that, "Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added."
COMMENT: This is a major smoke screen. I read in the USA Today last week ( I do not have the original article) that the use of Olestra is dramatically increasing. This is a FAKE fat. It is not safe to use. I would not recommend its use to anyone. I would not be surprised if it was as dangerous as trans fatty acids (partially hydrogenated fat) which are one of the highest risk factors for cancer. Fats are absolutely essential to good health. They control vital pathways through very complex prostaglandin control mechanisms. (You can see a review of this in Dr. Sears' book The Zone). If one changes the fats significantly, it is possible to experience enormous metabolic and hormonal dysfunction. The subtle vitamin deficiency described above is likely no more than a micro drop in a bucket when compared to Olestra's potential for damaging our finely tuned hormonal physiology. I will be posting a four page handout on how to balance fats later this summer. It will integrate much of the material I learned at the conference I attended last week with Dr. Kane.