RESTON, Va. — Potato chips made with phony fat are useful in treating obesity and diabetes, a group of doctors, researchers and patients told a federal advisory panel Tuesday.
But several consumers told the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that the fake fat chips cause bloating, diarrhea and nausea.
The committee of experts who evaluate food safety for the FDA heard testimony related to a potato chip, sold under the name Wow, made with an artificial fat called olestra. It tastes like normal fat but is not absorbed by the body and, thus, contributes no fat calories to the diet.
The FDA approved olestra in 1996 on the condition that Procter & Gamble, which makes the fat, and Frito-Lay, which manufacturers and sells the chips, report on any adverse health effects. The potato chip packages also are required to carry a label warning of possible gastrointestinal effects from eating the product.