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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A downside to using "plant sterols"

UPDATE: 12.08: A leading expert in the science of fats and oils, along with some researchers at Harvard, report that cholesterol-cutting spreads cause heart disease.

Ads for these so-called butter substitutes proclaim they promote heart health. But they are made from the world's deadliest fats! According to the Harvard study, consuming just 2 to 3 grams daily—the amount found in 3 to 6 cookies—increases the risk of heart disease by a whopping 21%!

Plant Sterols reduce concentrations of carotenoids
The Netherlands—An observed reduction in serum carotenoid concentrations during 18 months of consumption, according to a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Natural Health News has several posts regarding the push on products containing "plant sterols", including aspirin, vitamins, and a variety of drinks for cholesterol lowering.

Our argument against these products is that they generally contain genetically modified (GMO) corn and soy oils.

The GMO ingredients alone is certainly risky enough, but soy and corn oils pose many other problems, such as the amount of herbicides and other chemicals used in the Big Ag approach to growing food.

Now it is found that the use of these products have a deleterious effect on the amount of the important anti-oxidant carotenoids (think yellow-orange-red foods and the vitamin A family) available (physiologically) for your health.

So my guess is that Promise and the rest of those brands hawking "plant sterol functional foods" better go back to the drawing table.
Functional foods enriched with plant sterol or stanol esters may lower serum concentrations of fat-soluble carotenoids.

The double blind, placebo-controlled human intervention trial lasted 18 months, and cross referenced to concentrations of lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids).

Forty-seven subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups: margarine without added plant sterols or stanols, plant sterol-enriched margarine, or plant stanol-enriched margarine.

Changes in lipid-adjusted serum lutein/zeaxanthine concentrations between baseline and study end differed significantly between the three groups (P=0.001). No differences were found in the MPOD between the three treatment groups, despite the differences in both absolute and cholesterol-standardized serum lutein/zeaxanthine concentrations.


Travis said...

This is not news and has nothing to do with plant sterols. Soy has been know for 80+ years to cause malnutrition. Stay away from soy if you know whats good for you.

Anonymous said...

We've been "genetically modifying" plants for thousands of years, (otherwise we'd still be eating maize rather than those nice, big, pretty ears of corn, for example), there's just more of it being done in the lab rather than cross-breeding in the fields and taking decades to get results. Just my opinion, but I don't think GMO's are a big deal.