How are fat substitutes such as olestra (Olean) used to prevent obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

One strategy to prevent obesity that is being explored in the dietary industry involves the use of fat substitutes. Olestra (Olean) has been approved for use as a dietary supplement and additive in various foods, such as potato chips and crackers. Olestra has a calorie value of 0 kcal/g, whereas fat has a value of approximately 9.1 kcal/g. Olestra consists of a sucrose polyester backbone with 6-8 fatty-acid side chains; this structure makes the molecule too large for digestive enzymes of the gut to hydrolyze.


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