Thursday, January 31, 2008

WOW! Chips are Back, Under a New Name

Ever hear of Olestra? Remember when it first hit the markets and there was outrage about it?

On January 24, 1996, the FDA approved olestra for use in savory snacks such as chips, crackers, and tortilla chips.

People were getting sick left and right from eating the snacks with Olestra. While Procter and Gamble fought to have the warning label lighted, the WOW chips were doing their own advertising, causing abdominal cramping and loose stools. By 2002, the product was considered "dead" and the company "sold its Cincinnati olestra factory to Twin Rivers Technologies of Quincy, Massachusetts, though P&G retained the Olean brand name."

Why, you ask, do I care?

Yesterday, I spent the entire day cleaning my mother's condo to be put back on the real estate market. The realtor had announced there was an eager couple narrowing down which condo they would buy in the building next door, so quick like a bunny, I cleaned, washed, and tidied.

About six o'clock, I ran out to get a sandwich to eat, with floors still to mop, rugs to vacuum, no time to linger, I also had my blog to write.

There, in a Fernandina Beach supermarket, was the choice to have Pringles or... Pringles with 50% less calories.

Now, I ask you, which would you choose?

I love Pringles and they are so laden with fat and calories, I never have them anymore.

There was a small note on the top of the can "This product made with Olestra" in fancy script. It didn't sink in to me until later that is was Olestra.

I did not see a warning label and unfortunately, after I was done, I tossed the rest of the can. I'm trying to stage this place to look like no one lives here, it's just waiting for someone to buy it.

I had my sandwich, my chips, some milk, and a pickle spear at about 6:30pm. I was looking forward to finishing the cleaning so I could kick back, have a glass of wine, and write the blog for the day.

By 8pm, I was so miserable, the abdominal cramping was so bad I could not stand up straight. The diarrhea was quick to follow.

A quick disclaimer- I never get sick. My whole family can be barfing everywhere and I don't catch it, even though I'm cleaning it up. I can also eat pretty much anything. I do not have a delicate constitution. I'll eat anything once.

My first thought was the turkey- but I've had bad turkey before and I'll be honest- I always check it before I bite into it. Mayo? No, I had the mayo put on the side- I'm a Miracle Whip girl and I hate regular mayo. I just opened the milk and bought it the day before.

A pickle spear sure isn't going to send me over the edge.

Then I remembered. Fucking Olestra. I remembered all the reports, I remember thinking, I'm never going to eat that shit.

I'm tempted to climb down the garbage chute to take a picture of the innocuous label. If there was a warning sign on it, I didn't see it.

I will admit, half calorie Pringles pretty much clouded my judgment.

The good news is after that, Pringles are no longer on my longed for list. I can say, like tequila, I'm never going to want to consume them again, even with the calories.

Bad association.

But I want to rattle some cages out there- this product is back. It's nasty. If you see a snack that's singing to you with a promise of 50% less calories- run in the other direction.

And, unlike me, don't forget the old adage "too good to be true."

Or by a lot of toilet paper to go with it.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Ulla said...

I don't think it is legal in Europe yet, but I'm tempted to try them. Maybe some people are sensitive to olestra, and some people aren't.
And I get a wicked idea: I'll feed them to my kids... a few times, and they will never want to eat chips again (imagine evil laughter here - he he he)

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

I am the WORST with vomit or diarrhea!

If your bleeding or on fire im fine!

But stomach "issues" put me over the top! (Amazing that I work in the medical field! LOL)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Christy said...

I noticed the coupons for these in the Sunday paper last week. I wondered just HOW they were made with 50% less fat....just got my answer.

What did the realtor say?

12:48 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

The worst part about it? they tasted the same as regular pringles.

I did get an email from a friend who said she tried just a few the other day and had some of the same- although much milder- results.

No, I am NOT going to mention how many I ate.

Ulla... it'll cure 'em. that's for sure.

Christy? the realtor hasn't called yet- they were going to show it today or tomorrow. crossing my fingers.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Ms. Moon said...

They've never stopped making those Pringles as far as I know. I used to eat them. I think that (since you brought this up, Sara) if you limit the amount you eat the Olestra (what a great name, right?) won't bother you. At least, that's been my experience but I'm sure that some folks are more sensitive than others.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I only had three.

or four.

OKAY, 1/3 can!!!

no, I'll stick to regular chips. I mean... what's it doing to your body?

5:45 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

It isn't doing much to your body, and that's the point. It is not absorbed through the intestinal wall. There is concern that it absorbs some of the vitamins that attach to fat, and thus they are not absorbed either, but we generally get enough of those, as far as I know.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Lula de Montes said...

I remember the warning they had to print on the packaging: warning, can cause anal leakage. The thought alone made me cringe.

I firmly believe in normal food and we steer clear from any frankenstein foods.

Nice blog by the way and I love the way you covered the debate. Gives us poor souls over here in old Europe a nice take on it.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

Poor souls? Listen, if Obama or Clinton don't win? I'm going to be asking Real Estate advice from you all.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Ulla said...

It's not that you're not welcome - but what's wrong with Canada? Except for Great Brittain, we speak a number of hard-to-learn languages.

4:20 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

what?? you don't think at 44 I can pick up danish in a heartbeat?

Canada is nice but... brrrrrrrr.

and since I just lived through the remodeling of my office? Clinton or Obama better win.

8:53 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

Is Canada that cold? It's not exactly warm here either. I don't know why Danish is so hard to learn - it's easy for us to learn english. Finnish is much worse, though, and the place is even colder.
I'd go to the south of France if I were you, but let's hope for the best election-wise - for your sake, and the worlds sake and, of course, for the sake of the new office.

10:07 AM  
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