Have you heard of sterols and you know what LDL cholesterol is?
What are sterols?
– Sterols are a group of wax-like substances that occur naturally in animal and plant art
– The most well-known animal cholesterol is cholesterol
– The most common plant sterols are ß-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.
– A total of 44 different known types of sterols are found in the plant kingdom
– Just like cholesterol is the building block for all cell membranes in humans and animals, plant sterols are building blocks for cell walls of plants.
– In Norway you will find margarines, juices, yogurt and enriched steroids
Source: Fedon Lindberg
Studies suggest that margarines and other foods enriched with sterols can give us a false confidence.
Foods are popular because they can reduce blood cholesterol by up to ten percent, but now both Spanish and German authorities are spotlighting these products, according to Nutraingredients. com.
They especially mean people who eat margarine with sterols can actually end up at increased risk of heart disease.
– A meta-analysis, which looks at the relationship between plant sterols and the risk of heart disease, finds no connection – neither positive nor negative – which means that at best it may be wasted money to pay for more expensive sterolized margarines. However, a systematic survey from 2011 found that increased blood levels of plant sterols may actually be associated with an increased risk of premature heart disease, says Dr.. Fedon Lindberg.
He further states that several other studies indicate the same – a possible negative effect of high intake of plant sterols from enriched foods or natural sterol-rich oils and margarines.
Cardiologist at Volvat, Frederic Kontny, on the other hand, sees no immediate cause of concern when it comes to intake sterols.
There is no adequate evidence that sterols are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The question arose after the publication of a small Dutch study, where it was correctly found a positive correlation between intake of plantesterol and retinal venous diameter, which is a measure of microcirculation.
However, a similar association was not found in the group receiving plantestanol, but both groups achieved significant reduction of LDL cholesterol, Kontny says..
Must be investigated more closely
However, he believes that it is important to look further at the findings that were made in the study.
However, the results of the study are interesting in some reports indicating elevated cardiovascular risk in people with high sitosterol levels. These conditions need to be investigated in larger prospective randomized studies before one can give a clear answer, “he says..
Watch the kids
Fedon Lindberg thinks we should be extra careful when it comes to the fat sources in our food, especially to our children.
– Children are growing and need more cholesterol than adults, because cholesterol is building blocks for all the cells in the body.. It may also be problematic with a large intake of plant sterols for decades, which will be more appropriate for children than adults, if it turns out that this is unfortunate also in adults, says Lindberg.
This makes the food healthy
Nutrition physiologist at Volvat, Janne Langehaug Antonsen, nevertheless believes it is important to help the children to establish good habits – among other things, choosing margarine rather than butter.
From a very young age, they should eat food that gives the best health benefits. Adults should encourage a diet based on least saturated fat and trans fat. Using margarine with the highest quality of fatty acid composition will be part of a healthy diet, says Langehaug Antonsen.
The nutritional physiologist at Volvat sees no reason to control the margarines with plant sterols.
There are Norwegian and foreign studies showing that margarine with plant sterols reduces the level of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in different groups. Plant sterols are naturally occurring sterols found in plants, and these will inhibit the uptake of cholesterol in the intestine. Based on the documentation we have today, the choice of margarines will be a better choice for the heart than butter. Butter has a high content of saturated fat, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, she says.
A fat what fat?
We all agree that we need some fat, but what shape it is, is a matter for discussion.
– Do not follow extreme low carb diets
– I have never recommended margarines – neither with or without sterols. Primarily I would recommend cold pressed olive oil and then cold-pressed rapeseed oil as fat sources, “says Lindberg.
He says that particular olive oil has an enormously proven effect on its positive effect on cardiovascular disease and also a number of other diseases and chronic inflammation.
– Avocado, almonds, nuts and seeds are also very beneficial fat sources. Moderate amounts of butter and cold-pressed coconut are also good but not as main sources of fat in the diet, he says.
Olive oil seems to lower the risk of heart disease by around 20 percent, nuts reduce the risk by 30 percent and the Mediterranean cost as a whole lowers the risk by 70 percent, says Lindberg. Nutritionist Janne Langehaug Antonsen believes the best fat sources are marine sources and therefore we should try to consume at least 450 grams of fish a week.
– 200 grams of this should be oily fish, because our body does not produce omega 3 fatty acids we get from oily fish, she says.
Natural is good
Foods are added to a large amount of plant sterols to lower blood cholesterol. Lindberg is skeptical about, not the natural foods like corn, flaxseed, soybeans and peanuts. Small amounts of plant sterols are found in all natural plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, root vegetables and grains.
Plant sterols have a similar chemical structure as cholesterol, and if you eat food with plant sterols, they are taken according to Lindberg from the intestine and compete with cholesterol uptake.
Supplement slimming you two to three kilograms a week
Not for everyone
– Seeing a reduction in blood cholesterol is well documented for foods enriched with higher levels of sterols, but what is not documented is whether this cholesterol lowering also results in a reduced risk of heart disease, Lindberg says..
He believes sterol-rich foods are worthless for those at increased risk of heart disease, and furthermore fear that it may be problematic for those with normal cholesterol.
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