Plant Sterols - the evidence
There is a large body of scientific literature (NHMRC level I
and II evidence) which demonstrates that plant sterol enriched
foods effectively lower total and LDL cholesterol, whilst having
little impact on HDL1.
The Heart Foundation's Position Statement on 'Dietary fats and
dietary sterols and cardiovascular health' recommends that adults
at high risk of lifestyle conditions consume 2-3grams of plant
sterol enriched foods, such as low fat milk, each day, as part of a
heart healthy diet. Their review of the scientific research
concludes that plant sterol enriched foods can help lower
cholesterol levels in Australian adults and thus may improve heart
In general, the effect of plant sterols on cholesterol
appears to be independent of the background diet and in fact a low
fat, low saturated fat diet may have an additive
effect2. The cholesterol lowering effect is also
additive to most cholesterol medications2. Those on
cholesterol lowering medications should review the use of plant
sterol enriched foods with their GP to maximise how they can
effectively be combined.
There are now more than six human scientific trials in plant
sterol enriched milk, specifically3. The majority of the
scientific trials were performed in middle aged, overweight adults.
Consumption of the plant sterol enriched milk, providing 1-2grams
of plant sterols a day was shown to lower LDL cholesterol by an
average of 10% 3. These results were achieved in as
little as 3 weeks.
For details and links to publications please go to the
scientific studies section of this website.