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Cholesterol Levels Drop Lowest When Sterols Are Consumed Often During The Day

September 21, 2010: 09:25 PM EST

Researchers in the U.S. have discovered that levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) in blood plasma drop the lowest when people eat smaller amounts of plant-derived sterols and stanols more frequently during the day rather than in one large serving a day. Often added to foods such as margarine and orange juice and consumed once a day at breakfast, plant-derived sterols and stanols have been found to be heart healthy compounds that lower blood cholesterol concentrations. Researchers analyzed the blood fat profiles of 19 study volunteers after each of three six-day study phases. Volunteers started with placebo meals with no sterols in the first phase, then ate meals with 1.8 grams of sterols during phases two and three. LDL cholesterol dropped by six percent among the sterol eaters.

Rosalie Marion Bliss, "Healthy Plant Sterols: A Daily "Drip" is Best", News release, USDA, September 21, 2010, © USDA
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