Olestra has founds its way into many foods, particularly snack foods such as potato chips. Olestra is used in these snack foods because it is supposed to act as a substitute for all the fat that is normally present in these foods. Olestra has the qualities of fat but it is actually fat free. So it is a type of fake fat that has no calories. So people can enjoy their usual fatty snacks but without the fat. Olestra seems like the perfect product and the perfect solution.
However, some disturbing findings have been made on olestra that links it to bad health consequences of those who consume it.
Although olestra was deemed safe by the FDA, research now shows that olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. It could also inhibit the absorption of needed nutrients, specifically vitamins A, D, E and K. To counter these vitamin losses, products using olestra must be enriched wtih those vitamins. Olestra also reduces absorption of beta carotene and other cartenoids, which are nutrients that may help prevent heart disease and cancer.
The long-term effects of consuming olestra are still not known, but like other chemcial food additives, it appears to have the potential of contributing to many of the health problems of society.
Fife, Bruce. The Detox Book. USA: Piccadilly Books, Ltd., 2001.