Plant sterols and stanols are known as phytosterols and are part of plant membranes. Consuming them may help lower cholesterol, especially when part of a healthful diet. These are found naturally in foods in small amounts and are added to foods by manufacturers.
The American Heart Association stated that individuals should consume plant sterols/stanols daily from a wide variety of foods and beverages; they advise that maximum effects are achieved at intakes of approximately 2000 mg per day (Circulation. 2006;114:000-000). The National Cholesterol Education Program's Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) says, "daily intakes of two to three grams per day of plant sterol/stanol esters will reduce LDL cholesterol by 6 to 15 percent."
Here are some product links:
With any of these foods, we think it is more important to focus on the whole diet and to make sure it is low in saturated fat, trans fat , sodium and sugar and high in whole plant foods like beans, whole grains, fruits and vegetables that all contain fiber. Here is a review of a few listed below:
Promise Activ Light Spread contains just 45 calories and 5 grams of fat, 1 gram saturated fat and 0 g trans fat per tablespoon, plus it has one gram of sterols. If you are currently using margarine or butter it might make sense to switch to this one to add more phytosterols to your diet if you are concerned about lowering your cholesterol.
Promise Activ SuperShots contain an impressive 2 g of sterols per 3 ounce serving for just 70 calories. We were disappointed in their calcium content which rings in at just 4% of the daily value, unlike skim milk or yogurt that ring in around 30% per 1 cup serving.
CocoVia Chocolate Snack Bars are low in fat and calories for a chocolate bar, ringing in with just 80 calories and 2 grams of fat per bar. Plus these bars contain 25% of the daily value for calcium and 1,100 mg of phytosterols. As part of a healthy diet these can be a good substitute for chocolate or other treats for those who like to indulge.
MinuteMaid Heartwise seems like a good idea - most people drink a glass of orange juice each day and with this product you get 1,000 mg of phytosterols and just 100 calories per cup.
|Foods with Phytosterols||phytosterols (mg)|
|Oroweat Whole Grain & Oat Bread, slice||266 mg|
|Thomas Hearty Grains Oat & Honey English Muffins||400 mg|
|Nature Valley Healthy Heart Granola Bars, 1||400 mg|
|Corazonas Tortilla Chips, 1 oz||400 mg|
|Kroger Active Lifestyle Skim Milk, cup||400 mg|
|Nature Valley Cholestoff, 1 capsule||450 mg|
|Rice Dream HeartWise, cup||650 mg|
|Lifetime Lowfat Cheese, 1 oz||650 mg|
|Centrum Cardio, 2 tablets||800 mg|
|Promise Activ Light spread, 1 Tbsp||1,000 mg|
|Bayer Nutrition Science Heart Vitality, 1 tablet||1,000 mg|
|Minute Maid HeartWise or ange juice, 8 oz||1,000 mg|
|Dove CocoaVia Chocolate Snack, 1 bar||1,100 mg|
|Promise Activ SuperShots Yogurt, 3 oz||2,000 mg|
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. But after learning that the quality of a croissant directly varies with how much butter it has, Judy sought to challenge herself by coming up with recipes that were as healthy as they were tasty.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.