Illustration: A. Canamucio
The sad truth is that we're a bunch of fatsos, and getting fatter. Sixty-one percent of adults are now overweight, an all-time high, and more than a quarter are actually obese, or grossly overweight, according to the 1999 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But while we get fatter and suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol in record numbers, federal regulators are drastically limiting the availability of an important tool for controlling calories. Five years ago the Food and Drug Administration approved a formidable weapon in the war against dietary fat: a cooking oil called olestra, which adds no fat or calories to food. Simply a molecule of table sugar linked to soybean or cottonseed oil, it is too large for the body to absorb or digest. In 1996, after analyzing copious data, consulting outside experts, and...

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