Sucrose polyester - Olestra, Olean - is sucrose esterified with soy and corn fatty acids (>78% C16 and C18, <10% C20 and larger) to give greater than 97% octa-, hetpa-, and hexaesters. Olestra is solid at 65% unsaturated fat content or liquid at 80%. The molecules are too big to fit into lipase active sites. Olestra oozes through your gut unchanged, unabsorbed, and non-caloric; is retained by your downstream sphincter with varying degrees of success (anal leakage), and periodically blows out your bottom into the community cloaca.
Where does all the indigestible Olestra go? It is rich with vitamins A, D, and E purged from your body, J. Nutrition 127 1555S (1997). Is it good for the environment? Olestra's water solubility varies between 5-42 parts per billion. The greasy fecal mess plates out on all surfaces in the sewage treatment cycle (Envir. Toxicol. And Chem. 16(3) 586 (1997)). If I were a sewer worker I would be nauseated and repulsed. Does OSHA know about Olestra?
Consider http://www.cochrancorp.com/corp.htm where the Cochran Corporation is a leader in feed fat development and sales, serving poultry and livestock markets. Cochran has a process for degrading Olestra into chow that chickens or steers can profitably digest. (If they eschew swine I will think better of ham, pork, and bacon) This saves the world from Olestra deep fat fryers' effluent if anybody gives a hoot. More likely cattle and poultry will enjoy luxuriously lubricated bowels when the special stuff is dumped in with the regular. Imagine 1300 pound steers with anal leakage.
Surf http://www.olean.com/ for the straight skinny. 285 tons of Olestra were fed to people in test studies. Proctor and Gamble then reached for big casino. Total United States swallowed snack grease is 774,000 tons/year, or 5.7 pounds for every man, woman, and child. Imagine eating a big can of Crisco (a P&G product) with a tablespoon. P&G estimated its Olestra market at 500 million pounds/year, or 9.9 pounds of goo/actual consumer. This excludes 9 Calories/gram ingested grease or 40,500 Calories/year (equal to 20 days' meals).
In aggressive aerobic sewage treatment Olestra has a half-life of 88 days under optimum conditions. As no sewage stays in the plant for three months' processing we realize certain conclusions about seeing our once passed Olestra on a second go-round filming waterways and puddles with an iridescent sheen.
Innocent young child, "Mommy, daddy look! Pretty!"
Mommy, "Is that another environment-destroying oil spill dear?"
Daddy, "No, darling, that beautiful rainbow shimmer on every lake, river, stream, puddle, and raindrop is fecal Olestra! It is 100% natural except for the manufacturing part, and there is not an absorbable Calorie in any of it!"
What of fragile and endangered intestinal worms? Gaia's guts were once teeming with trematodes, cestodes, nematodes and ascarids. Children's bellies in blessed Mother Africa still bulge with tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and pinworms. The rural American South was a cornucopian reservoir of every visceral squatter known to medicine generating eggs and infective larvae at maximum biological potential - like French Catholics in Quebec dropping feeble-minded kids. This is no more (at least for the gastrointestinal installment).
Monstrous trespasses of medicinal interdiction levied holocaust extermination upon untold billions of gentle loving emotionally sensitive 100% American intestinal worms. The few survivors escaping carnage to maintain their kind are now faced with unctuous billows of suffocating synthetic Olestra gurgling through loosened digestive tracts. Like a plastic bag placed over a head to torture and suffocate, the noxious discharge strangles and smothers these most basic and innocent of God's creatures. Have we no shame?
Foods can be fried in mineral oil, silicone oil, inert chlorofluorocarbon oils like Krytox, Fomblin, or Fluorolube; synlubes like Mobil 1 base stock, or sucrose polyester. The savory snacks therefrom would each and all satisfy deeply ingrained mammalian desires for eating luxurious high-calorie fat without imparting so much as a single Calorie to their consumers. Every greasy droplet would pass through 30 feet of intestine untouched to distastefully re-emerge into the world and proceed to smear onto every available surface - a little bit of the Exxon Valdez operating every day in every house, apartment, and Inner City homeless designated defecatorium.
Proctor & Gamble spent more than $500 million fighting the Food and Drug Administration over Olestra. No doubt our government saviors spent the like pressing their attack. In a proper world P&G would have followed its corporate agenda, operated by its B-School casebooks, assayed its chances in focus groups, forged full speed ahead, and enjoyed a well-oiled non-caloric anally leaking slide to Hell. $500 million aside, so far so good.
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