Carol wrote:More serious, I think, is the fact that Olestra leaches vitamins and minerals out of your body.
Is it that it leaches vitamins or that it inhibits absorption of vitamins consumed at about the same time? That is, if your body has already absorbed vitamins, it won't lose those. It'll just fail to absorb all of the vitamins in food consumed along with the olestra.
A lot of natural foods have the same effect -- antivitamins show up all over the place. Eggs, cabbage, and many other substances, especially vegetables, contain antivitamins. Raw egg contains avidin, which neutralizes biotin. Cooking most of these foods gets rid of the antivitamin effect, but, of course, also gets rid of some vitamins...
I believe steingarten goes into vitamins in one of his "I hate salad" articles. Hammond would probably enjoy it. Steingarten doesn't actually *hate* salad, but he does think its ubiquity is somewhat annoying.