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Olestra is totally safe for your tummy


Jason Perlow
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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor...cter_olestra_dc

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Food & Drug Administration will no longer require companies that sell snacks and other foods containing the controversial fat substitute olestra to warn that it can cause cramping and other digestive problems.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Well, that's full of sh@t!

Agreed. I tried chips with Olestra once - and was in pain for hours afterwards as a result. Never again.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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I once had relatives in town from Thailand who ate WOW chips and spent the next few hours in pain...

comment from one of them

"Mr. Cousin, we can even drink our, how you say, faucet water in third world country, where even dog gets bottle water... yet these food is bad bad bad."

Never ate them again... :wacko:

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Last I read, years ago, P&G was on their second version of this synthetic oil (Olestra --> Olean). What changed, such that the FDA no longer requires the warning? Is there a new version? I mean, FDA didn't just change their collective mind, right? P&G must have improved the product ... and someone here must know.

You folks with stories of pain ... I don't get it. I have a simple understanding of the "Olean" molecule, and I can't fathom how it could possibly cause _pain_. Is there a nutritionist in the house?

ps -- Steingarten's first book has a swell article on Olestra/Olean.

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I think olestra is pointless and don't buy olestra products. However, the reason the FDA is releasing PG from the disclaimer requirement is that a large study failed to demonstrate a correlation between eating olestra (vs a placebo) and an increase in abdominal complaints. Whether the decision should be based on one study is a fair argument, and I'd probably say the delabeling is premature.

Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems have a variety of causes. Many infectious diseases of the bowel have long incubation periods. To conclude, because you ate olestra and subsequently got sick, that olestra caused your illness, is a very bad conclusion. Once, that kind of superstition was the only thing people had to go on. Nowadays, we can do better.

Oh, and for what it's worth, I ate a bunch of the olestra chips when they first came out, a my stomach gave not a peep. This proves nothing, but maybe you're interested.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I don't understand the comparison of Olestra to plastic. I'm not an organic chemist, but my understanding is that it's more similar to food than plastic.

I rarely eat chips any more, figuring that if I'd rather use my fat/calory intake allowance on something more rewarding, like butter and bacon. :biggrin:

That said, I did try the Wow chips once, when I felt a rare craving for potato chips, and guess what? It tasted like potato chips. I didn't notice any side effects either, so I'll likely try them again.

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As I recall from Steingarten's article many years ago (in the first book), "Olestra" is actually a process they subject fat molecules to, which prevents you from digesting them. One can imagine how a buildup of undigested lipids in your colon could be problematic.

On the other hand, as Steingarten pointed out, there is no reason you couldn't do the same thing to, say, beef tallow molecules, which would certainly be worthwhile if you wanted to make fries.

Edited by badthings (log)
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As I recall from Steingarten's article many years ago (in the first book), "Olestra" is actually a process they subject fat molecules to, which prevents you from digesting them. One can imagine how a buildup of undigested lipids in your colon could be problematic.

Actually, they don't build up there. That's the problem. Being completely indigestible, they pass right through you.

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That was my understanding. Having stuff remain in the colon was not the issue... :shock:

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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  • 4 months later...

I think Steingarten's position on Olestra is less positive nowadays. It might be interesting to ask him what altered his position in the Q&A starting on Sunday/Monday. And whether he follows up on his research in general.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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If it really is a problem, I think it would be a mistake for the companies to remove the labeling because someone is going to get cramps and diarrhea and sue. Not that the warning labels really help that much.

There was a warning on some sugar free peanut butter cups I bought a couple months ago, but I didn't notice it. Ate about 10 (they're the size of the minatures) over an hour of watching a movie and by the time the movie was over I was in the bathroom. Cramps and diarrhea that reminded me of salmonella, which I had in middle school. Many sugar free "treats" such as Jelly Bellies are pretty bad. It's an interesting practical joke to give people sugar free Jelly Bellies. A handful will put you in the bathroom for several hours.

I used to eat olestra chips occasionally and never had too much problem. I did get gas which in my mind is almost worse than getting diarrhea. But I did have to eat a significant amount, like half a big bag. No anal leakage. (Is anyone reading this anymore?)

I have to say, Olestra is good stuff. Chips with Olestra are 100 times better than baked chips and nearly as good as normal chips.

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What can I say, a lot of people have it in for Olestra. The anecdotal evidence is worthwhile only to the extent that it suggests further study is necessary. For my part, I had several servings of WOW chips and was fine.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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The anecdotal evidence is worthwhile only to the extent that it suggests further study is necessary.

Agreed. I tried them too, after reading Steingarten's Olestra piece a few years ago. I even made the sour cream/onion soup powder "California Dip" which he and his wife whipped up.

No cramps, no "intestinal discomfort" and no anal leakage. I avoid potato chips because, as others have mentioned, I could be getting my fat allowance from bacon, but I remember thinking they were a fine example of the genre---especially the rippled ones. Mit dip.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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In a former life, I had associations with a company that manufactured chips featuring olestra. The first alarming note was sounded when the plans came down to move the listing of olestra from the front of the package to the back. Why alarming? Because while not everyone has/will have a bad reaction to this product, some will. And I believe those people have the right to be made aware that olestra is an ingredient.

So while I also believe in personal responsibility and the need to read labels, I've got another reason to be afraid of another arm of the government cozying up to an industry at the expense of consumers.

But that's just me.

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