A Fat Substitute's Slight Problem
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 96 13:57:18 -0700
Subject: A Fat Substitute's Slight Problem
Forwarded-by: Manish Tuteja <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Patrick Johnson)
From: pg. 24 of the April 1996 Harper's, in the readings section.
"A Fat Substitute's Slight Problem:"
"From a report on the safety of olestra, a fat substitute created by Procter
and Gamble that was recently approved for human consumption. The report...
was conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest... The
excerpt below is from CSPI's analysis of certain types of gastrointestinal
disturbances linked to olestra."
"Olestra is an oily substance that is not absorbed by the gut... a person
who eats olestra cannot control the passage of oil from the body. In
clinical studies conducted by P&G, olestra-associated anal leakage and
underwear staining occurred in sizable numbers of subjects who consumed
olestra formulations that are likely to be marketed. Although these
problems are largely aesthetic, they could have psychological ramifications.
"... In [a] P&G study, a mere twenty grams of olestra -- the amount that
would be present in about two ounces of chips -- consumed daily was
sufficient to cause underwear staining in about one fifth of subjects. In
yet another study, the incidence of staining increased with the amount of
olestra consumed. Long-term persistence of underwear staining (over forty
days) was reported by one subject."
"Discussion: The potential for psychological upset due to anal leakage and
underwear staining exists and has led to our concern about these phenomena.
We can envision the disconcerting effects of underwear stains on fastidious
adults or on preschool-age children who were recently toilet trained or on
elementary-school-age children, for whom toilet matters are generally a
source of embarassment. Parents of children whose underwear is stained due
to consumption of olestra are also likely to be upset.
"Since it appears that anal leakage has not been eliminated, despite Proctor
& Gamble's changes in olestra formulations, the possibility of public
embarrassment and its consequent psychological distress must be taken into
account. We can envision the sudden appearance of stains on tight-fitting
light-colored leggings or other pants. The appearance of stains while the
individual experiencing them isn't aware of them could be particularly
"Of course, one could argue that such gastrointestinal problems are merely
unpleasant phenomena and not 'adverse effects,' but we believe that the
average consumer would support the view that these are indeed 'adverse
© 1996 Peter Langston