Plant sterols and stanols, substances that can lower cholesterol,
are now being added to foods ranging from granola bars to chocolate.
The catch is that you need to eat about 2 grams worth of added sterols
or stanols every day to put a dent in your cholesterol, reports the Harvard Heart Letter.
eaten, sterols and stanols gum up the body's system for absorbing
cholesterol from food. Since the liver needs cholesterol for digestion,
it grabs LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream while leaving HDL
cholesterol alone. Eating 2 grams per day can lower levels of LDL
cholesterol by about 10%, which could translate into a 20% lower risk
of having a heart attack or stroke.
a food you eat every day is now being made with extra sterols or
stanols, switching to the fortified version makes sense, says the
Harvard Heart Letter. If not, adding these foods to your diet is a
high-calorie way to modestly reduce cholesterol. You'll need to
eliminate the added calories somewhere else in your diet, or the
resulting weight gain will counteract the cholesterol-lowering effect.
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