FAQs

What is HeartActive®?

Dairy Farmers HeartActive® is a specifically designed low-fat, calcium rich milk that is enriched with plant sterols, which are known to lower cholesterol.

Dairy Farmers HeartActive® provides a simple, convenient solution to help lower cholesterol, without compromising taste or nutrition.

What are plant sterols?

Plant sterols occur naturally in foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables, but only in very small amounts. They have a similar structure and shape to cholesterol.

How do plant sterols work?

Plant sterols work by competing with cholesterol absorption in the intestine. As a result, less cholesterol is absorbed1. This also affects our bodies' production of cholesterol and results in lower total and LDL cholesterol in the blood, but has little impact on HDL (or 'good') cholesterol concentrations2.

1 Heart Foundation (2007) Position Statement on phytosterol/stanol enriched foods.
2 Thomsen (2004) EJCN 58, 860-70.

What is the evidence for plant sterols?

There is a body of scientific research which demonstrates that plant sterol enriched foods effectively lower total and LDL cholesterol without impacting on HDL cholesterol levels1, including six clinical trials in plant sterol enriched milk. In fact, it has been shown that consuming plant sterols everyday in milk can lower LDL cholesterol by an average of 10% in just 3 weeks2.

In 2007, the Heart Foundation of Australia updated their position statement on the consumption of phytosterol and stanol enriched foods, and conducted a review of all the scientific literature1. They found that daily consumption of phytosterol enriched foods reduces LDL cholesterol levels but has little effect on HDL ('good') cholesterol.  The Heart Foundation Position Statement recommends Australian adults concerned about their heart health include plant sterol enriched foods as part of a heart healthy eating plan1.

1 Thomsen (2004) EJCN 58, 860-70.
2 Clifton (2004) EJCN 58, 503-509.

How much HeartActive® do I need each day?

The Heart Foundation recommends a daily intake of 2-3 grams of plant sterols because of their ability to effectively lower LDL cholesterol1. Each serve of Dairy Farmers HeartActive® contains 0.8grams of plant sterols, as well as a range of essential nutrients, including calcium and protein. For the best results, enjoy 2-3 serves of low-fat Dairy Farmers HeartActive® every day.

1 serve Sterol content per serve
250mL Dairy Farmers HeartActive® 0.8g of plant sterols

For a healthy, balanced diet enjoy a diet low in saturated fat and full of fruits and vegetables.

Including HeartActive® in your diet is easy. Enjoy on cereal, in a delicious fruit smoothie, in cooking, or as a great snack any time of the day.

1 Thomsen (2004) EJCN 58, 860-70.

Is there a maximum amount of plant sterols to have each day?

Consuming more than 3 grams of plant sterols each day provides no additional cholesterol-lowering benefits1.

1 Heart Foundation (2007) Position Statement on phytosterol/stanol enriched foods.

Are plant sterols safe?

Yes. Scientific research confirms that plant sterols are safe for human consumption, even above 3g per day5,6. This is why they are permitted in a range of foods both in Australia and internationally.

5 Katan (2003) Mayo Clin Proc 78, 965-978
6 FSANZ Plant Sterols Fact Sheet, 9 November 2006

What if I am on cholesterol-lowering medication?

Plant sterols work in addition to most cholesterol-lowering medication1. However, it is best to consult your doctor before using Dairy Farmers HeartActive® to learn how best to incorporate it into your cholesterol management plan.

1 Thomsen (2004) EJCN 58, 860-70.

How much plant sterols are needed?

The Heart Foundation recommends a daily intake of 2-3 grams of plant sterols from fortified foods including low fat milk to effectively lower LDL cholesterol1.

Most scientific trials of plant sterol enriched milk contained approximately 2g of plant sterols each day1.

Each 250mL serve of Dairy Farmers Heart Active contains 0.8g of plant sterols. So for best results consume 2-3 serves a day.

1 Heart Foundation (2009). Position statement on Dietary fat and dietary sterols for cardiovascular health.

Is it a "dose response" benefit and is there a maximum amount of plant sterols to consume daily?

Plant sterols work in a dose response however this appears to plateau at about 2-3grams per day1. Hence it is generally advised that no greater benefit can be achieved from doses above 2-3grams per day2.

1 Heart Foundation (2009). Position statement on Dietary fat and dietary sterols for cardiovascular health.
2 Heart Foundation (2007) Summary of evidence on phytosterol/stanol enriched foods.

Are plant sterols safe for all consumers?

The safety of plant sterols has been thoroughly investigated and reviewed by regulatory authorities around the world including Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). FSANZ has approved the use of plant sterols in a number of foods in Australia and New Zealand, including low fat milk and yogurt, margarine, and breads and cereals.

All humans consume plant sterols as they are naturally present in fruits, vegetables and other plant foods. To our knowledge, no adverse side effects have been recorded.

Plant sterol enriched foods are not necessary or recommended for children or pregnant women.

Can plant sterols be used with cholesterol lowering medications?

Yes. In general, the effect of plant sterols will be additive to cholesterol lowering medication1. However, people on cholesterol lowering medications should first review the use of plant sterol enriched foods with their GP, to maximise how they can effectively be combined.

1 Heart Foundation (2007) Summary of evidence on phytosterol/stanol enriched foods

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