Just wanted to add - when high-fructose corn syrup was first made, no one would have thought that a sweetener derived from corn (how natural!) could cause the problems it has caused. The corn growers of the US have even begun advertising campaigns to combat the growing concerns with high-fructose corn syprup! It shows people being ignorant and confused when asked to explain "why" high-fructose corn syrup is bad for you, and then smug, slick people saying how it was so good for you because it's "made from corn".
It's "made from corn" the way beer is "made from barley". I'm not knocking beer, I love the stuff, but I wouldn't put it in my nutrition tracker as a serving of grains!! Beware, beware ANY claim made by any manufacturer or seller of foods. Do your research. There's some truly outrageous goings-on in our food system and this development (adding plant sterols and plant stanols to food) is just another one.
I agree with KIMTRIM, this kind of thing falls into the "Frankenfood" category for me and I will stay well away from foods with artificial "plant sterols" added in. I also must say I worry that SparkPeople seems to be heading the way of most mainstream "diet" sites, heavily advertising pseudo health foods like soy and Cheerios, which is continuing to contribute to people's confusion and poor choices.
Phytoesterols, like all food components, like herbs, like medicine, are powerful agents and must be treated with respect. There's a reason why there's only a tiny amount in natural occurrences! Whether you feel we evolved or were created, our bodies have a specific way of interacting with this environment that supports and nourishes us - messing with the food supply the way we have done has led to epidemic, alarming levels of obesity and related diseases. The way to fix this problem is not to continue artificially manipulating food in the factories, but to return to eating whole foods, as close to its natural state as possible.
How many of us were surprised to realize that brown rice was healthier because it was UNrefined, as opposed to white rice, which has the healthiest parts stripped away? Or when we discovered that whole wheat, like any whole grain, is better for you because we get the nutrients already present in the bran and kernel? Didn't you stop to wonder why in the world anyone would have come up with the idea to refine rice or wheat to begin with? I sure did! And the conclusion is that they didn't know any better.
Well, we know better now. It is ridiculous to buy orange juice that has the phytoesterols from peanuts in it. Now you are consuming a food that has been processed twice - first to get the juice, and second to add the plant stanols or plant sterols. Instead, eat whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, reduce your saturated fats and increase the good ones.
SparkPeople is overall a great site, but I really wish we could stop pandering to the FOOD INDUSTRY and start pandering to the vital needs of our bodies, first and always!
Aren't phytoesterols converted into estrogen in the digestive tract? I mean, I know that estrogen has a protective effect against cholesterol, but couldn't eating supplemented foods provide too much of these plant-based hormone disruptors and have negative effects? Similar to how eating too much unfermented soy can lead to hormone disruption?
I'll stick to natural foods, thanks! These frankenfoods scare me -- there's no reason to pollute something already healthy (like orange juice and yogurt) with additives. It's easy enough to get phytoesterols from foods that already have them, if you want them.
People with food allergies should read the labels of these foods very closely. I bought orange juice with plant sterols only to discover in the very fine print that some were derived from peanut. I have a severe allergy to peanut - who'd have thought that you'd have to be careful with orange juice. Luckily I read the labels on everything - but nearly missed this one.
Great article--I like Benecol on my toast, english muffins, etc. Last year, using benecol once a day, and oatmeal 4-5 times a week, and doing cardio 3 x a week, I lowered my cholesterol from 220 to 190ish.
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