“Poem: Ode to Olestra”
Also titled “I Can’t Believe this Stuff is Still Legal”

I had a shocking experience this weekend after I ate exactly seven “Pringles Light Sour Cream and Onion” chips. After waking up in the middle of the night with severe cramps, diarrhea and extreme nauseous, I decided to research why I felt so horrible. I discovered that the chips I had eaten contained Olestra.

I never expected that a substance that used to have a warning label: “…Olestra may cause abdominal cramping and loose stools. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients…” A substance that the FDA “…received more than 20,000 such reports—more than for any other food additive in history”*  would still be legal.

The poem begins below the pictures.


I dipped my chip,
In a touch of dip,
And chowed on it so quaintly.

Because it is,
A low fat chip,
I feel I could eat it nightly.

But through the night,
My stomach screamed,
What did you put in me?

I did not know,
But had to go,
Because my stomach’s achy.

When poisons flow,
The bathroom I go,
Trip after trip after trip.

Which led me down,
To question roun’,
Was it the chip or the dip?

My answer came,
From the raging fame,
Of a poison substance.

The non-fat chip,
And not the dip,
Was why my body’s resistance.

P&G’s Olestra Brand,
Can cause even anal leakage.

It is legal because,
The corporate claws,
Can seize their financial reapage.

So before you eat,
Any American treat,
Look at what is in it.

You may not be well,
You’ll feel like hell,
Cause FDA wants more corporate profit.



As I write this, I still have yet to fully recover. This poem is me fighting back, I would like the FDA to have regulations to protect our health. I also know that as long as products such as Olestra and NutraSweet remain legal, corporate profit is more important.

**Olean is Proctor and Gamble’s brand name for their Olestra.

About Amy Marschak

I have been writing since I was little and found myself bored but yet still trapped in a classroom. So instead of staring out the windows at school, I would write poetry in the margins of all of my school notes. And in this way I could pass the time without having to listen to the teacher when they were being boring or depressing. A few of these poems are in my first book “Poetry for All Those Breathing” which is now in its Seventh Printing. Poetry has always been a way for me to be heard by my family. If I would simply state how I felt, I would frequently be ignored but if I wrote it as a poem, what I had to say would be listened to. Sometimes my parents would even cry when they heard my poetry.