Olestra consumption does not predict serum concentrations of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins in free-living humans: early results from the sentinel site of the olestra post-marketing surveillance study

J Nutr. 2000 Jul;130(7):1711-8. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.7.1711.


In 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved olestra, a fat substitute, for use in snack foods. Previous studies had shown that olestra consumption could reduce absorption of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins. To determine the association between consumption of olestra-containing snack foods and serum concentrations of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins in a free-living population, we interviewed independent population-based cross-sectional samples of 1043 adults before olestra was available and 933 adults 9 mo after olestra snacks were introduced into the marketplace in Marion County, IN, the first major test market for olestra. A cohort composed of 403 adults from the first survey, oversampling those most frequently reporting olestra consumption during follow-up telephone interviews, completed a second survey. We assessed diet, lifestyle factors and olestra consumption, and collected blood for assays for the serum concentrations of six carotenoids, four fat-soluble vitamins and lipids. Nine months after the introduction of olestra into the marketplace, 15.5% of Marion County residents reported consuming an olestra-containing snack in the previous month, with a median frequency among consumers of 3.0 times per month. There were no significant associations or consistent trends for decreased serum carotenoids or fat-soluble vitamins associated with olestra consumption, although cohort members consuming >/=2 g/d of olestra had adjusted total serum carotenoids 15% lower compared with baseline. There were increases in serum vitamin K concentrations associated with olestra consumption (P = 0.03 in the cross section and P = 0.06 in the cohort). In summary, there was no statistically significant evidence in this free-living population of associations between olestra consumption and decreased serum concentrations of carotenoids and fat-soluble vitamins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Black People
  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology
  • Fat Substitutes / administration & dosage*
  • Fat Substitutes / pharmacology
  • Fats
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing*
  • Solubility
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Sucrose / analogs & derivatives*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin K / blood
  • Vitamins / blood*
  • White People


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fat Substitutes
  • Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Sucrose
  • sucrose polyester