Olestra Intake Correlated With Lower Cholesterol Levels

October 1, 2000

2 Min Read
Olestra Intake Correlated With Lower Cholesterol Levels

Olestra Intake Correlated With Lower Cholesterol Levels

SEATTLE--Reported in the Sept. 25 Archives of Internal Medicine (160:2600-2604, 2000), researchers found that consumers with high levels of olestra intake had lower total serum cholesterol levels than non-olestra users. In a study commissioned by Olean-maker Procter & Gamble, 335 adults were followed for one year in the "Olestra Post-Marketing Surveillance Study" (OPMSS). The subjects had been chosen via phone interviews, a process that recruited adults who had eaten olestra foods more than twice, only once or not at all. Diet, weight and serum lipid levels were assessed in all participants at the beginning and end of the study.

It was found that those consuming the most olestra-containing products [approximately 2 g/day] reduced cholesterol levels by -0.54 mmol/L compared to -0.14mmol/L among olestra non-users. The researchers offered several not-mutually-exclusive explanations for these results: 1) olestra may inhibit dietary cholesterol absorption, 2) olestra may replace dietary saturated fat, or 3) olestra may reduce caloric intake.

Even though this research is good news for cholesterol, it may be bad news in terms of overeating. An offshoot of the study found that those who did not know they were eating a fat-substituted food ate normally. Those who did know the fat and calorie content of their food overcompensated by eating 15 percent more fat-free chips.

According to the researchers, a major limitation to the study was that olestra consumption was self-reported, which may lead to a significant measure of error. They also noted that the consumers with the highest level of olestra intake already followed healthy diet practices. Researchers concluded that further studies needed to be conducted on olestra. This trial was done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. For a copy of the abstract, visithttp://archinte.ama-assn.org.

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