Olestra is a commercially made substitute for fat that is used mainly in potato chips. Though it adds taste to the chips, there are many dangers associated with it. This article highlights the olestra side effects.
There are two kinds of fat substitutes – one that are easily absorbed in the body and the other that are not absorbed in the body. Olestra is a chemical compound that is used as a substitute for fat and is added to the food products that have a high fat content, especially junk food. It is available in the market under the brand name, Olean, and is found in many packaged food products, especially in potato chips. It is a fat substitute that is not absorbed in the body. It is used in potato chips, as it does not add any fat to it. It was made by Procter and Gamble, and was available in the market as a cholesterol reduction drug. In the year 1996, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as a food additive. Though it was considered a healthy food choice, it had its own share of side effects.
Though olestra does not allow any fat to accumulate in the body, it also has a few side effects, which should not be ignored, lest it leads to unwanted complications.
- Curtailing the Absorption of Vitamins: Consuming foods that contain this product can make the body deficient of the essential vitamins. It tends to block vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Overeating the products can block the absorption of these vitamins in the body.
- Lack of Fat in the Body: Since fat aids in the absorption of essential minerals and vitamins in the body, it is an important nutrient. As this addictive does not contain fat and is completely eliminated from the body, the absorption of the essential vitamins and minerals can cause certain health-related problems.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: Over consumption of products that contain this addictive can lead to many gastrointestinal issues, like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and loose stools (this condition is also known as anal leakage). It may also lead to fatigue and nausea, followed by vomiting. Individuals who are already suffering from the above mentioned gastrointestinal disorders should avoid the consumption of this product, as these side effects arise because the absorption of fat is blocked in the body.
- Over Consumption: Overeating any of the food products containing this substitute can be unhealthy. A single serving of normal chips contains approximately 150 calories, whereas a serving of chips that have this element contain only 75 calories. Though this may look healthy, in reality, it is not. Individuals who consume these products may not feel completely full, which may make them eat more, thinking it is healthy. This can result in the person becoming overweight, leading to obesity.
- Low Absorption of Carotenoids: Some plants produce pigments called carotenoids, that are rich in antioxidants. They help in reducing the risk of cancer. Consuming this substitute blocks their absorption. Even if the individual has a meal of fresh fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids, their absorption tends to get blocked due to this product.
Though there are no known long term side effects of olestra, over consumption of this fat substitute can be harmful, and sometimes, even fatal. Keeping in mind the side effects, it is advisable to avoid the over-consumption of potato chips. Instead, you can snack on some healthy food, like fruits, nuts, and dry fruits that will be essential for the body.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.