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Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I be concerned about my cholesterol?
What are CoroWise™ plant sterols?
How do CoroWise™ plant sterols lower cholesterol levels in my blood?
Do CoroWise™ plant sterols work best for people with moderately elevated cholesterol or do they offer benefits for people with high cholesterol as well?
How long must CoroWise™ plant sterols be consumed before cholesterol levels change?
Are CoroWise™ plant sterols safe?
Do any government or professional health associations recommend consuming plant sterols?
How can people consume more CoroWise™ plant sterols?
Where can I get more information on plant sterols?
Have any clinical trials been done with plant sterols?
Why should I be concerned about my cholesterol?According to the American Heart Association, elevated blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, and heart disease is responsible for 50% of all deaths in industrialized countries such as the United States. In fact, nearly 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (>200 mg/dL) and, oftentimes, they don't even know it. High blood cholesterol is one risk factor that can often be modified by lifestyle changes, such as eating a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in grains, fruits and vegetables. Consuming plant sterols as a regular part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol provides another natural option in the maintenance of cardiovascular health.
What are CoroWise™ plant sterols?All plants include some amount of a substance known as plant sterols that naturally reduce cholesterol. However it is difficult to consume enough of these foods on a daily basis to derive enough plant sterols to create a cholesterol-lowering effect. CoroWise™ plant sterols is a concentrated extract of this substance that comes from plants such as soybeans or corn.
How do CoroWise™ plant sterols lower cholesterol levels in my blood?From your body's point of view, CoroWise™ plant sterols looks a lot like cholesterol. As you digest a meal, plant sterols compete with the cholesterol, so you absorb less of the cholesterol. The overall effect in clinical studies has been an average "bad" (LDL) cholesterol decline of 8 - 15% with no known adverse side effects.
Do CoroWise™ plant sterols work best for people with moderately elevated cholesterol or do they offer benefits for people with high cholesterol as well?The higher an individual's cholesterol, the greater the effect of plant sterols. Although, those with normal cholesterol can also benefit from plant sterols.
How long must CoroWise™ plant sterols be consumed before cholesterol levels change?Once plant sterols have been incorporated into the daily diet, changes in blood cholesterol levels can usually be detected in 2-3 weeks.
Are CoroWise™ plant sterols safe?Yes. Scores of human studies with plant sterols have shown no adverse effects. Some studies have found that large doses of plant sterols reduce the absorption of the pre-vitamin beta-carotene. However, clinical trials have demonstrated that even in the face of rather large daily intakes of plant sterols, serum fat-soluble vitamin levels, including vitamin A, remained well within normal ranges. CoroWise™ plant sterols can be used in a variety of major food and beverage products. With CoroWise™ plant sterols, Cargill is making it easier to maintain a heart-healthy diet.
Do any government or professional health associations recommend consuming plant sterols?In the US, the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health suggests the use of plant sterols in conjunction with other lifestyle changes to enhance LDL cholesterol reduction achieved through dietary means.
How can people consume more CoroWise™ plant sterols?Look for the CoroWise™ logo on a number of products, including Minute Maid® HeartWise™ Premium Orange Juice, Hain Rice Dream®, HeartWise™ Rice Milk, Lifetime™ Cheeses, and GNC® Heart Advance™ Dietary Supplements. Cargill is working with a number of food companies that plan to incorporate plant sterols into new and existing products.
Where can I get more information on plant sterols?- National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)
- American Heart Association
- Food and Drug Administration
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
Have any clinical trials been done with plant sterols?Phytosterols and Heart Health (June 2002)
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Phytosterols have been clinically evaluated in many different populations, under different circumstances over the past fifty years, and have consistently demonstrated the ability to reduce blood cholesterol in humans. The scientific substantiation supporting the health benefits of phytosterols has been well established and public health authorities, such as the US National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), are beginning to include phytosterols as part of their dietary recommendations (NCEP, 2001).
Articles published in several peer-reviewed scientific journals demonstrate the clinical efficacy of phytosterols in individuals with elevated and normal cholesterol levels:
Cholesterol-lowering effect of spreads enriched with microcrystalline plant sterols in hypercholesterolemic subjects. Christiansen LI, Lahteenmaki PL, Mannelin MR, Seppanen-Laakso TE, Hiltunen RV, and Yliruusi JK, 2001. European Journal of Nutrition 40:66-73.
Consumption of tall oil-derived phytosterols in a chocolate matrix significantly decreases plasma total and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels. de Graaf J, de Sauvage Nolting PRW, van Dam M, Belsey EM, Kastelein JJP, Pritchard PH, Stalenhoef AFH, 2002. British Journal of Nutrition 88:479-488
Cholesterol-lowering efficacy of a sitostanol-containing phytosterol mixture with a prudent diet in hyperlipidemic men. Jones, PJH, Ntanios, FY, Raeini-Sarjaz M, and Vanstone CA, 1999. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69:1144-50.
Solubilization of phytosterols in diacylglycerol versus triacylglycerol improves the serum cholesterol-lowering effect. Meguro S, Higashi K, Hase T, Honda Y, Otsuka A, Tokimitsu I, Itakura H, 2001. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 55:513-517.
Cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterol esters and non-esterified stanols in margarine, butter and low-fat foods. Nestel P, Cehun M, Pomeroy S, Abbey M, and Weldon G, 2001. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 55:1084-1090.
A diet moderately enriched in phytosterols lowers plasma cholesterol concentrations in normocholesterolemic humans.Pelletier X, Belbraouet S, Mirabel D, Mordret F, Perrin JL, Pages X, and Debry G, 1995. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 39:291-95.
Spreads enriched with plant sterols, either esterified 4,4-dimethylsterols or free 4-desmethylsterols, and plasma total- and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. Sierksma A, Weststrate JA, and Meijer GW, 1999. British Journal of Nutrition 82:273-82.
Effects of yoghurt enriched with plant sterols on serum lipids in patients with moderate hypercholesterolaemia. Volpe R, Niittynen L, Korpela R, Sirtori C, Bucci A, Fraone N, and Pazzucconi F. 2001. British Journal of Nutrition 86:233-9.
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CoroWise is a trademark of Cargill Incorporated