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Food makers have long been adding sterols sterols (ster´ôlz), steroids having one or more hydroxyl groups and no carbonyl or carboxyl groups (e.g., cholesterol).
 to products like margarine and salad dressing (fat aids sterol Sterol

Any of a group of naturally occurring or synthetic organic compounds with a steroid ring structure, having a hydroxyl (—OH) group, usually attached to carbon-3.
 absorption), but they have only recently started including them in staples like bread and milk. Research into the new products has already shown encouraging results. A 2004 study published in the

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the cholesterol-lowering power of sterol-enriched milk, yogurt, bread, and cereal in 58 women and men, and found the milk and yogurt most effective at reducing cholesterol levels: Two grams of sterols from these foods lowered LDL LDL - ["LDL: A Logic-Based Data-Language", S. Tsur et al, Proc VLDB 1986, Kyoto Japan, Aug 1986, pp.33-41].  levels by 16 and 9 percent, respectively, after a three-week trial period. (Sterol-rich bread produced a drop of 7 percent; cereal, 5 percent.)

Still, adding sterols to your diet is often not enough to protect heart health, says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University New York University, mainly in New York City; coeducational; chartered 1831, opened 1832 as the Univ. of the City of New York, renamed 1896. It comprises 13 schools and colleges, maintaining 4 main centers (including the Medical Center) in the city, as well as the  and author of

What to Eat (North Point Press, 2006). "Lowering your cholesterol also requires a healthy diet low in saturated fats and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with regular exercise," she says. Doctors may prescribe statins Statins
A class of drugs commonly used to lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Mentioned in: C-Reactive Protein
 for people with very high cholesterol, and eating sterol-enriched foods may help and certainly won't hurt, adds Nestle. To get started, try a mix of fortified foods like Unilever's Promise Activ Supershots yogurt drink (two grams of plant sterols per serving; or Nature Valley Healthy Heart Chewy Granola Bars Chewy Granola Bars is a subsidiary of the Quaker Oats Company which consists of a number of varieties of snacking granola bars. Flavors include Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Chocolate Chip, S'mores, Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, and Oatmeal Raisin.  (about half a gram per serving; and natural sources. Foods highest in sterols include pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds, almonds, rye bread, and Brussels sprouts.
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Author:Laura V. Anderson
Publication:Natural Health
Date:Sep 20, 2007
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