Fake Fat As Filling As The Real Thing

Procter & Gamble Co.'s fat substitute, olestra, offers the ultimate dietary self-indulgence: It feels and tastes like fat but is not digested or absorbed by the body. But will dieters crave real fat even after snacking on olestra-based foods? A new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and Procter & Gamble suggests not. Scientists at Johns Hopkins University and P&G fed volunteers breakfast biscuits, some made with olestra, then monitored their meals for two days. Those who unknowingly ate the fat substitute didn't react by eating more fat in later meals. Instead, they made up the calorie difference by eating more carbohydrates.

"The study shows that olestra may help reduce the amount of fat consumed by average Americans while increasing their consumption of carbohydrates," says Barbara J. Rolls of Johns Hopkins. But not for a while: Olestra has yet to be approved by the Food & Drug Administration.