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

Mark D. Thornquist, Alan R. Kristal, Ruth E. Patterson, Marian L. Neuhouser, Cheryl L. Rock, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Lawrence J. Cheskin

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25 Scopus citations


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 sam pies 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1718
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 24 2000



  • Carotenoids
  • Fat-soluble vitamins
  • Humans
  • Olestra
  • Serum concentrations

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