What is Olestra?
Olestra is a zero-calorie fat substitute used to replace a food or baked item’s original fat content. It is indigestible —passing through the digestive system entirely unchanged.
Butter, shortening, or oils are the sources of fat replaced by Olestra in reduced-fat or fat-free products. Olestra does not provide any nutritional value, nor does Olestra provide a source of energy. A benefit of utilizing Olestra as a fat replacer is that Olestra lowers caloric content, as well as fat content, without sacrificing the desirable taste conventional fat imparts.
Sucrose or table sugar is esterified with 6 to 8 triglycerides, or long fatty acid chains, to develop Olestra. Characteristics such as consistency and melting point of the Olestra at hand can be manipulated via the fatty acid chain length, degree of esterification, as well as the degree of saturation of the fatty acids.
Individuals aiming to lose weight or maintain a low-fat, low-calorie diet can consume products utilizing Olestra as opposed to actual fat, to keep on track health-wise while still enjoying their favorite products.
Sucrose Polyester or Olestra (OleanTM): Utilized in pre-packaged, ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat baked items, as well as mixes including loaves of bread, bagels, biscuits, muffins, bread sticks, cakes, cookies, corn bread, muffins, tortillas or taco shells, croissants, crackers, fried and baked items such as donuts, pancakes, crepes, pastries, pies, sweet rolls, waffles, and crust.
One side effect of consuming Olestra is that it cannot be absorbed by the digestive system. Vitamins such as A, D, E, and K, as well as carotenoids, may not become absorbed by the body because of binding to Olestra. Consequently, products that decide to utilize Olestra must also add a dosage of the affected vitamins to help prevent loss of nutrition.
Consumers are also encouraged to maintain taking an everyday multivitamin to maintain adequate vitamin consumption.