During consumption of the phytosterol-enriched chips, significant reductions in...LDL cholesterol were achieved without affecting HDL.
To extend the application of phytosterols to fried foods, free phytosterols were adequately heated and then cooled in fat, which caused the phytosterols to recrystallized. That process rendered the phytosterols bioavailable for blocking cholesterol absorption. In a human study, subjects (n = 7) consumed two 28-g servings of tortilla chips fried in oil with or without phytosterols that provided 0 or 1.5 g/d for 4-wk periods in a crossover design. During consumption of the phytosterol-enriched chips, significant reductions in plasma cholesterol (10%) and LDL cholesterol (15%) were achieved without affecting HDL-C. This novel means of delivering free phytosterols proved to be both functionally efficient and effective. (Hayes KC et al. 2004. J Nutition 134:1395)
Plant sterols are an important dietary component for lowering LDL cholesterol and maintaining good heart health.
Plant sterols are naturally occurring molecules that humanity has evolved with. Herein, we have critically evaluated recent literature pertaining to the myriad of factors affecting efficacy and safety of plant sterols in free and esterified forms. We conclude that properly solubilized 4-desmetyl plant sterols, in ester or free form, in reasonable doses (0.8–1.0 g of equivalents per day) and in various vehicles including natural sources, and as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, are important dietary components for lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and maintaining good heart health. (A. Berger et al. 2004. Lipids in Health and Disease 3:5)
How do plant sterols work?
Just as humans have cholesterol, so do plants. Plant sterols are the plant’s cholesterol. In fact, under a microscope, plant sterols look very similar to human cholesterol.
Thanks to the nearly identical structure, plant sterols compete with human cholesterol and block the absorption of cholesterol.