Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, dismissed a British study that says sucrose polyester--the fat substitute olestra--has troubling side effects that should be investigated. P&G said the study, published in the British Nutrition Journal, tested a substance other than Olean, its version of olestra. Even though the six-month study indicates SPE is quite similar to Olean, P&G said the substance--provided by rival Unilever to researchers--is not equivalent to Olean, which is approved in the U.S. for use in "fat-free" snacks. P&G also said the study, though only now published, was conducted more than two years ago, well before the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved Olean and restated its safety in June. The study found that people who ate SPE had lower levels of vitamin E and of nutrients known as carotenoids. The FDA, in approving olestra, specified that that four vitamins, including vitamin E, be added.
Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.