Olestra, marketed under the name Olean, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use as a food additive in 1996. Olestra is synthesized using a sucrose molecule, which can support up to eight fatty acid tails, which is too large a molecule to be digested in the intestine. Since Olestra does not contain glycerol, it has the same taste as fat but no calories or nutritive value, because it is indigestible. In 1998, the FDA issued the following health warning label: ``This Product Contains Olestra. Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. Vitamins A, D, E, and K have been added.`` Olestra also reduces absorption of health-promoting carotenoids including lycopene, lutein and other lipid-soluble nutrients.
HHS News, FDA APPROVES FAT SUBSTITUTE, OLESTRAJanuary 24, 1996, http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/NEW00524.html. Neuhouser ML, Rock CL, Kristal AR, Patterson RE, Neumark-Sztainer D, Cheskin LJ, Thornquist MD.Olestra is associated with slight reductions in serum carotenoids but does not markedly influence serum fat-soluble vitamin concentrations.Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;83(3):624-31.