chapter  6
20 Pages

Glow-in-the-Dark Eggs or Olestra: Pick Your Poison

WithJames T. Bennett, Thomas J. DILorenzo

When in January 1996 the Food and Drug Administration gave Procter and Gamble the thumbs-up to use olestra in savory snack foods one could first impulse may have been to shout Alleluia! This was the greatest invention since the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)-marketed "Vita-Mix Total Nutrition Center", the blender that guaranteed "no loss of the fiber-rich pulp" and for only $445! The health implications of a no-fat fat are revolutionary. Simply substituting olestra chips for regular potato chips can eliminate two-thirds of a person's excess fat intake. A slice of peach pie contains 405 calories; made with olestra, it would contain 252. Olestra's discovery was a typical case of serendipity scientists working late at the lab and all that monster mash stuff. Procter and Gamble scientists had been studying the difficulties that premature infants have in digesting fat; their tinkering led in 1968 to the invention of olestra, which is also known as a sucrose polyester.