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Alternate Names



A substitute for fat that cannot be digested, developed by Procter & Gamble and named Olean. It's original purpose was to replace conventional fats in french frieds and baked desserts and as total replacement for fats and oils in prepackaged, ready-to-eat cookies. Olestra looks like, cooks like, and tastes like ordinary fat, but adds no fat or calories to foods. It was approved as a food additive in 1996. In 1998 sales of products containing Olestra had hit a high, but by 2000 sales of Olestra products had slumped, probably because Olestra foods were required to carry a labeling warning stating that "Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools." By 2002, Procter and Gamble had sold it's US-based production facility.

Olestra - Quick Stats


Allergy Information


Fat Substitute, Fat

Additional Information

Products that use Olestra are required to add specific amounts of vitamins A, D, E & K in order to compensate for olestra's effects on these fat-soluble vitamins. After being approved as a food additive, the FDA mandated that products containing Olestra carry a warning about the side effects. Olestra is not approved for sale in many countries, but until 2011 it was still listed as an ingredient in Lay's Light chips, Pringles Light potato crisps (Olean-brand olestra).

Found In

Potato chips, tortilla chips, cheese puffs, crackers, tortillas.

Possible Health Effects

Abdominal cramping, loose stools, and inhibits absorption of vitamins. It has been suggested that consumption of olestra may worsen symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome.

Allergy Information


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Copyright November 5, 2012 Be Food Smart, Updated 3/12/13

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