The overwhelming body of scientific evidence proves that olestra is safe for consumption and is helpful in reducing fat and calories – important in reducing weight as part of an overall weight loss plan. Olestra has been approved for use in the United States and many other countries around the globe since 1996. It is one of the most studied food ingredients on the market, with more than 40 years of research behind it.
Here are some frequently asked questions about olestra:
Olestra is a zero-calorie fat substitute used in place of high-fat cooking oils, shortening and butter in reduced and lower-fat foods. Foods with olestra taste great, but have fewer calories and fat than full-fat foods.
Olestra is made starting from vegetable oil. It is processed in a special way, creating oils and shortenings that look, cook and taste like ordinary fat, but are not digested by the body. This is why it has no calories. Foods that contain olestra taste great but have fewer calories and fat than full-fat foods. Read about the science behind olestra.Science
Foods with olestra have been widely available in American supermarkets for more than 15 years. Olestra was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 and nearly seven billion servings have been consumed since then. The ingredient is backed by more than 40 years of research, reviewing its safety, applications and use in foods. Olestra is the one of the most studied food ingredients on the market.
With obesity at epidemic proportions, there is a real need for healthier food options. People are asking for choices that allow them to enjoy the foods they love without so many extra calories. Olestra was developed to help people make healthier choices and put the joy back in eating. Healthy lifestyles begin one choice at a time, and foods with olestra can make those choices easier.
Weight loss is fundamentally dependent on eating better and exercising more. With less calories, foods with olestra can be part of an overall weight loss plan. And because the composition of olestra is similar to butter and oil, foods with olestra taste great and satisfy. This means that you don’t eat more low-fat foods to feel fulli. Healthy living
Olestra is safe. The FDA has an established approval process for food ingredients. Olestra was reviewed and approved by the FDA in 1996 for use in salty snacks. More recently, use of olestra has been expanded through the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) process to include many everyday foods, such as: Science
Each time olestra has been reviewed, the FDA has reaffirmed its safety. Science
Olestra is one of the most studied food ingredients ever with more than 40 years of research behind it. Olestra has been thoroughly tested and studied by teams of independent nutrition and medical experts, who together have conducted more than 150 scientific studies and published more than 400 technical papers supporting the benefits and safe use of olestra.Science
There was one recent study of olestra in rats, which metabolize food differently. Numerous studies evaluating olestra in humans, however, have shown people who ate foods with olestra lost weight and reduced total body fati,ii,iii. Eating foods with olestra does not cause weight gain when eaten as part of a healthy, lower-fat diet. Science
Currently, olestra can be found in snack foods and baked goods, such as Frito-Lay’s “Light”® potato chips, Pringles® Light and the “Skinny Cookie” produced by Buskin Bakery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Consumers have responded very positively to these foods. More than one million servings of foods with olestra are eaten every day. Healthy living
Vitamins A, D, E and K dissolve in both regular fat and olestra. Regular fat promotes your body’s absorption of vitamins when the fat is broken down and absorbed. Because olestra is not absorbed by the body, some vitamins dissolved in olestra will also not be absorbed. Therefore, a small amount of these vitamins are added to olestra foods to offset this effect. This addition has no impact on your body’s vitamin levels regardless of how much or how often you eat olestra foods.
Olestra does not affect the body’s uptake of water-soluble vitamins, minerals, proteins or carotenoids. In several large clinical studies, daily intake of olestra many times greater than one would normally consume resulted in limited reductions in blood carotenoid concentrations. Even after consuming olestra at high levels every day for one year, these reductions did not result in any negative health effects and the observed decreases in blood carotenoid levels did not translate into any change in health status. Studies have shown that reduction in carotenoid concentration after eating foods made with olestra is less than the difference in carotenoid levels from a raw carrot versus a processed carrotiii. Science
In very early prototypes, long before the FDA approved olestra, some gastrointestinal effects were reported in studies. The product was reformulated long before olestra was approved and made available in foods. Scientific studies have shown that people who consumed foods with the FDA-approved olestra have not experienced significant gastrointestinal symptoms any more than one would with full fat foods. Americans have been eating foods with olestra safely for more than 15 years. Since its approval in 1996, nearly seven billion servings of olestra have been consumed safely. Healthy Living
Foods made with olestra are safe for children and for women who are pregnant or nursing. For children under the age of two, however, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend restricting fat and calories. Similarly, most women need to increase their caloric intake during pregnancy and when nursing. Low-fat foods may not be the best choice for these women.
Many studies confirm that snack foods made with olestra can be eaten by anyone, including people with diabetes. In fact, snacks made with olestra may help people reduce their intake of fat, which can be helpful for those who need to lose or maintain weight for diabetes control or prevention. Any specific questions or concerns should be discussed with your health care provider.
Olean is the brand name for olestra.
ii Thornquist, M.D. et. al. “Olestra Consumption Does Not Predict Serum Concentrations of Carotenoids and Fat-Soluble Vitamins in Free-Living Humans: Early Results from the Sentinel Site of the Olestra Post-Marketing Surveillance Study,” Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 130, 1711-1718 (2000).
v Cheskin, L.J. et. al. “Gastrointestinal Symptoms Following Consumption of Olestra or Regular Triglyceride Potato Chips; A Controlled Comparison,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 279, No. 2, 150-152 (1998).
vi Sandler, R.S. et. al. “Gastrointestinal Symptoms in 3181 Volunteers Ingesting Snack Foods Containing Olestra or Triglycerides; A 6-Week Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial,” Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 130 No. 4, 253-261 (1999).
vii Zorich, N.L. et. al. “Follow-up to the Study: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-controlled Consumer Rechallenge Test of Olean Salted Snacks,” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 27, 2 (1998).