25 Years of Food Follies: 1987-2012

We're looking back at oddball food trends and nutritional nonsense. By: Jenny Everett

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Worst term ever mandated by a food product launch
Photo: Lee Harrelson

1996 | Worst term ever mandated by a food product launch

In 1996, the FDA approves Olestra, a no-calorie fat substitute discovered almost 30 years earlier. In 1998, Frito-Lay introduces potato chips containing Olestra. Problem: The FDA requires a warning about risk of abdominal cramping and loose stools caused by overconsumption of the indigestible substance—and the unfortunate phrase "anal leakage" goes into heavy rotation on late-night comedy shows. Olestra snack sales go belly-up. In 2009, Scientific American reports a new use for the unloved fat sub: an eco-friendly alternative to oil-based paints and lubricants.

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