Is olestra consumption associated with changes in dietary intake, serum lipids, and body weight?

Jessie Satia-Abouta, Alan R. Kristal, Ruth E. Patterson, Marian L. Neuhouser, John C. Peters, Cheryl L. Rock, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Lawrence J. Cheskin, Mark D. Thornquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: There is considerable controversy regarding the effects of fat substitutes (such as the non-caloric fat substitute, olestra) on Americans' diet and health. This report gives associations of olestra consumption (in savory snacks) with changes in nutrient intake, serum lipid concentrations, and body weight 1 y after these snacks became available nationally in the United States. METHODS: Participants were 1178 adults recruited from three large U.S. cities. At baseline (before the availability of olestra), participants attended a clinic visit and completed questionnaires (including a food-frequency questionnaire), provided fasting blood samples, and had height and weight measured. The clinic visit was repeated about 1 y later, after the introduction of olestra-containing snacks in the marketplace. Olestra consumption was categorized as "none," "very low" (>0 to <0.4 g/d), "low" (≥0.4 to <2.0 g/d), and "moderate/high" (≥2.0 g/d). RESULTS: Twenty-five percent of participants reported consuming olestra-containing savory snacks in the preceding month, but only 2% were categorized as moderate/high consumers. Men reported nearly twice as much olestra consumption as women (1.22 versus 0.68 g/d, P = 0.01). Among moderate/high olestra consumers, total energy and carbohydrate intakes increased by 209 kcal/d and 37 g/d, compared with decreases of 87 kcal/d and 14 g/d, respectively, among non-consumers (both Ps for trend = 0.01), corresponding to non-significant changes in percentages of energy from carbohydrate and total fat. Olestra consumption was not associated with statistically significant changes in serum lipids or body weight. CONCLUSIONS: This study found very modest changes in total diet, but no changes in serum lipids or body weight, associated with consumption of olestra-containing savory snacks. However, the low use of olestra by the study sample limited the ability of this study to detect significant effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Procter and Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio.


  • Diet
  • Fat substitutes
  • Fat-modified foods
  • Olestra
  • Savory snacks
  • Serum lipids
  • Weight


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