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Nutrition

A healthier butter for your heart?

February 1, 2022

Products with plant stanols are an alternative to butter, but the health claims might not stand up.

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Nutrition experts often advise limiting your daily intake of butter, which is high in saturated fat, in order to keep your arteries clear. Are butter substitutes made with plant stanols really a better alternative?

Plant stanols are derived from plant cell membranes. They are found naturally in foods such as nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Past studies have shown that supplements containing these naturally occurring compounds can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol by up to 14% in people taking 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams (mg) a day. But the problem is that butter-replacement products often don’t have enough plant stanols to produce a therapeutic effect.

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