PLANT STEROLS AND HEALTHY EATING
When it comes to lowering cholesterol, eating more foods fortified with plant sterols can help.1 Help your clients discover the benefits of plant sterols.
WHAT ARE PLANT STEROLS?
Plant sterols are substances found naturally in plant-based foods such as nuts, seeds, grains, fruit, vegetables and plant-based oils.1
Health Canada considers the term “plant sterols” to include both plant sterols and plant stanols. Health Canada also considers “phytosterols” to be a synonym for “plant sterols.”2
Plant sterols help decrease the absorption of cholesterol in our intestine, so more cholesterol is excreted from the body. The result? Lower levels of LDL- cholesterol and no change in HDL-cholesterol levels. 2-5
However, it’s difficult to get enough plant sterols to lower LDL-cholesterol solely from whole foods. For this reason, some foods are fortified with plant sterols so that people with elevated cholesterol can benefit from the LDL-cholesterol lowering effect. Certain foods in Canada, such as mayonnaise, margarine, calorie-reduced margarine, salad dressing, yogurt and yogurt drinks, and vegetable and fruit juices can have up to 1g of plant sterols per serving added to them.1 In Canadian grocery stores, only one calorie-reduced margarine and one brand of orange juice is fortified.
WHAT SHOULD I EAT TO CONSUME MORE PLANT STEROLS?
A healthy diet only provides about 160 to 400 mg per day of plant sterols, with vegetarian diets providing up to 600 mg per day.3 The amount of naturally occurring plant sterols in food varies, but usually ranges between 30 mg and 60 mg per serving.
To achieve the recommended level of 2 g per day, it is advised to eat 2 to 3 servings of plant sterol-fortified foods every day. For example, just one 10 g serving (two teaspoons) of Becel® pro.activ® – used as a spread or incorporated into dishes like pasta – provide 40% of the daily amount of plant sterols shown to help lower cholesterol in adults. One serving (250 ml) of a leading brand of orange juice would provide about 50% of the daily amount of plant sterols.
NUTRITION AND PLANT STEROL HEALTH BENEFITS
When combined with a healthy diet, getting a daily dose of 2 to 3g of plant sterols can lead to an LDL-cholesterol reduction of around 6 to 15%.7,8
Keep in mind that people taking cholesterol lowering medication must discuss adding plant sterol-fortified products to their diet with their doctor. Although they are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, plant sterols are not a replacement for any cholesterol-lowering medications.3 Foods fortified with plant sterols are not recommended for children, breastfeeding or pregnant women.
Plant sterols are safe to consume, according to many scientific authorities all over the world, including Health Canada, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority.2
Becel® pro.activ® is great for spreading and topping, however, keep in mind that it’s not recommended for freezing, frying or baking because it is lower in total fat.
Simply swap Becel® pro.activ® into these recipes to get the benefits of plant sterols today.
• Avocado Toast with Pear and Honey
• Wasabi Lime Smoked Salmon and Cumber Rolls
• Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Sesame Seeds
• Veggie Garden
- Heart and Stroke Foundation. Blood cholesterol. 2019. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart/risk-and-prevention/condition-risk-factors/high-cholesterol Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- Health Canada. Plant sterols and blood cholesterol lowering - summary of health canada’s assessment of a health claim about plant sterols in foods and blood cholesterol lowering bureau. 2010. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-labelling/health-claims/assessments/plant-sterols-blood-cholesterol-lowering-nutrition-health-claims-food-labelling.html Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- British Heart Foundation. Plant sterols and stanols. 2014.https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/publications/heart-conditions/medical-information-sheets/plant-sterols-and-stanols Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- British Dietetic Association (BDA). Plant stanols and sterols. 2015.https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/PlantStanolsAndSterols.pdf Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- Mayo Clinic. Cholesterol: top foods to improve your numbers. 2018.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/cholesterol/art-20045192 Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- Oregon State University. Phytosterols. 2017.https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/phytosterolsSourced Dec 5, 2019.
- Casas R, et al. Nutrition and cardiovascular health. Int J Mol Sci 2018;19(12):3988.https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/12/3988 Sourced Dec 5, 2019.
- Cofan M, et al. Use of plant sterol and stanol fortified foods in clinical practice. Current Medicinal Chemistry 2018;25:1-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29984649 Sourced Dec 5, 2019.