plant sterols

In 2000 the FDA approved the health claim that plant sterols reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels.   Since then products have begun to pop up that contain plant sterols with the latest being Minute Maid Heart Wise Orange Juice.   First of all I have to admit that I’m leery of products that claim they have plant sterols in them because of how loose the requirements on these claims are.  But, I wanted to take a look at this and other products to see what the deal was.

On the label it says that “foods containing at least 0.4 g per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a total daily intake of at least 0.8 g, as part of a low saturated fat, low trans fat and low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease. A serving of Minute Maid Heart Wise contains 1g of plant sterols per serving (which is 80z).”   Then I compared that to Promise activ™ SuperShots™ which is a yogurt based drink that provides 2.0g plant sterols per serving (which is one supershot).

The interesting thing is that reading the FDA report the way this stuff works is that it really should be taken with a meal.   Which means in theory you should take 0.4g with lunch and 0.4g with dinner and taking more than that has not been proven to make any more or less of a difference.    Hmmmm…so let’s look at the price.

At my local Vons the Minute Maid is 0.08cents an ounce and the Promise Active drinks are .30cents an ounce…..ouch!     Considering the Promise shots aren’t really designed to drink half of it and re-seal it, purchasing the Minute Maid (although higher priced than normal orange juice) seems like a better and more usable way to consume your twice daily sterols.   But, keep in mind that you need to drink two glasses of juice a day…one with each meal to get the full impact.   So that means you’ll be going through about a bottle of juice every three and a half days.    

So, if you drink OJ that much anyway then I could see it being a good thing.  I drink a couple of glasses a week, so for me that would be A LOT of OJ.  So, how to include them?   That is a topic for another time.

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