In the beginning the science of nutrition believed a magnificent lard roll about one's middle assured good health. In bygone days sufficient caloric intake - never mind nutrients, there weren't any - was a flight of fancy and hard labor was a consuming fact. As we raped and pillaged the Environment, destroying habitat, exterminating species, toxifying the atmosphere, polluting waterways, filling the world with industrial poison, and sterilizing all of Gaia... we suddenly got grossly obese. We are unctuously stuffed with calories as our supermarkets explode with huge quantities of cheap good stuff to eat. We now want to pig out on food that has no destiny of hanging off our guts, spreading our butts, and making our thighs flap in a breeze. Science to the rescue!

The wonders of wheaten dough, from cake to French bread, can be annulled by replacement of the grain flour with oat bran. Gelatin and guar gum replace butterfat in yogurt and cookies. Our industrial juggernaut created multifarious disgusting plastic foods for our portly Baby Boomer palates. People wearing natural fibers over their naturally smelly armpits sang hosannas of praise for recyclable comestibles. Though miracles were wrought, the devil of the greasy french fry eluded exorcism. Enter Proctor & Gamble.

Lipase enzymes in your small intestine slither along emulsified triglycerides (fat), cleaving off three fatty acids and leaving glycerol. All of this stuff is then absorbed and anabolically metabolized into horror at the bathroom scale. Proctor and Gamble took natural table sugar, exhaustively esterified it with natural (and unsaturated!) fatty acids, and brought fourth a liquid lipid too big at the molecular scale to fit inside the lipase active site. Olean brand of Olestra sucrose polyester went in your mouth and out your backside, suffering no digestion or absorption during its 50 foot alimentary passage. It was cheap to make from ecologically renewable resources, and totally harmless. The Food and Drug Administration attacked.

Two hundred fifty million P&G dollars later, Olestra was enriched by law with traces of the fat-soluble nutrients Vitamins E, K and D plus beta-carotene. It had also amassed a quaint reputation for the phenomenon of anal leakage. One's fundament is inconveniently evolutionarily puckered toward retaining water-based rather than oily materials. A quarter billion dollars into red ink, P&G seeks to market an Officially safe laughingstock as food.

Olestra data can be found at many sites on the Internet, most of them in German. If I were a corporation that dropped a quarter billion simoleans into proving its new and improved non-caloric grease put skidmarks in your shorts, I'd also be circumspect in German. Those concatenated nouns make for dense annual reports to the stockholders (verbs to follow by separate mailing).

Will P&G use Olestra in cosmetics and ecological crankcases? Will it lubricate condoms without latex degradation? Plasticize PVC? Replace jojoba which replaced spermacetti (and bankrupted everybody who tried making the desert bloom lube oil)? If I were P&G I'd petition the US government to make a few billion gallons of the stuff at top dollar and store it in giant underground bunkers dissolved out of Louisiana salt domes against the day when the Arabs might cut off our crude oil supply.

No, wait, it was done with petroleum still bottoms.

An enormous tax-exempt community of Enviro-whiners and eco-freaks will surround the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site. They will continuously monitor the underside of every flat rock and grain of sand that not a single scorpion or cholla cactus suffer under the hand of man. (They will also serve to keep any sane person well away from the site.) How will they broil their natural-cut potatoes when clouds overhead quench their solar cookers?

I know! Olestra will be the recirculating edible cooling fluid for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage! In the brave spirit of combination desert topping and floor wax, scalding hot Olestra will be pumped from the nuclear waste storage bays in Yucca mountain into the deep fat fryers of Naderville and Port Rifkin, then into hot water heaters, then into central heating, and finally back to the source. If there is a leak, have a picnic!

Are we to suffer a National Non-Caloric Grease Crisis? Will there be enough Olestra on planet Earth to fill the heat exchangers of Yucca Mountain and Enviro-whiner lederhosen both? Will the Cuban sugar cane harvest enjoy a boon at US taxpayer expense? As P&G might say, "So wie das Auschlage, so also die Forelle nicht habt gehaben sein."

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