Stanols and sterols
A range of productsfrom margarine and yogurt to orange juice and granola barscontain added stanols and sterols, plant-derived compounds that can help lower LDL cholesterol levels without any known side effects.
Stanols and sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol and compete with dietary cholesterol for absorption in the small intestine. As a result, these substances decrease dietary cholesterol absorption in the small intestine.
Studies show that stanol- and sterol-fortified foods reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to 10 to 13 percent when used regularly in combination with a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet. However, stanols and sterols appear to have no beneficial effect on HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Stanol- and sterol-fortified foods can be high in calories, so be sure to eat them in moderation.