E.F.S.A. sets cholesterol levels for plant sterols

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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PARMA, ITALY — A European Food Safety Authority panel has concluded foods containing certain levels of plant stanols and sterols may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Scientists on the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (N.D.A.) gave an opinion that a person may reduce cholesterol in the blood on average by 7% to 10.5% by consuming 1.5 to 2.4 grams of plant sterols and stanols every day.

The N.D.A. panel also concluded foods such as yogurts and milk, including low-fat yogurts and cheese, margarine-type spreads, mayonnaise, salad dressing and other dairy products, were most suitable for delivering the cholesterol-lowering effects from plant stanols and sterols. For other foods, either information was lacking or they appeared to be less effective in reducing blood cholesterol levels.

The scientists found the effect usually is established within the first two to three weeks. They examined studies that covered periods up to 85 weeks. Sterols and stanols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine and lowering blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (L.D.L), which is known as the "bad" cholesterol.

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