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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more






Healthful Snacks for the Chip-and-Dip Crowd

by Ruth Papazian

Olestra Approved with Special Labeling

Snack products containing olestra, a fat-based substitute for conventional fats, now appear on store shelves. FDA approved olestra for use in certain snack foods in January 1996. The agency requires all products containing olestra to be labeled with specific health information.

Procter & Gamble Co. developed olestra, which it is marketing under the trade name Olean.

Because of its unique chemical composition, olestra adds no fat or calories to food. Potato chips, crackers, tortilla chips, or other snacks made with olestra will be lower in fat and calories than snacks made with traditional fats.

Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools in some individuals, and it inhibits the body's absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. FDA is requiring Procter & Gamble and other manufacturers who use olestra to label all foods made with olestra and to add the essential vitamins vitamins A, D, E, and K to olestra.

The following labeling statement will be on all products made with olestra: "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."

Like all food additives, olestra's safety was the primary focus of FDA evaluation. For olestra, the safety evaluation focused not only on its toxicity, but also on the product's effects on the absorption of nutrients and on the gastrointestinal system.

Studies of olestra indicated it may cause intestinal cramps, more frequent bowel movements, and loose stools in some individuals. These gastrointestinal effects do not have medical consequences. The required labeling will give consumers needed information to discontinue the product if appropriate.

Clinical testing also indicated that olestra absorbs fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) from foods eaten at the same time as olestra-containing products. Studies also demonstrated that replacing these essential nutrients in olestra-containing snacks compensates for this effect. This information will also be included in the product labeling.

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