I remember eating chips made with Olestra back in college. I remember the warnings of anal leakage, but I also remember thinking that they tasted pretty good. Well, a news study provides evidence that Olestra may help people reduce PCB levels in the blood.
Earlier studies in animals showed that olestra would bind PCBs in the digestive tract, preventing them from being absorbed. Researchers theorized they would see the same effect in humans, and a small trial recently conducted showed that people who ate chips with Olestra saw a reduction in PCBs in the blood(1). PCBs are an environmental toxin associated with cancer, hypertension and diabetes as well as skin conditions.
One of the concerns with Olestra is that it may do the same thing with fat soluble vitamins. The whole anal leakage thing is also still a little concerning, but it will be interesting to see this thing play out. If anything, this does shine a little light on the fact that we are far too lax in letting items enter our food supply. Despite this being a positive finding, we shouldn't be adding things like this to the food supply without researching them well enough to determine exactly what they do.