Monday, February 5, 2007

A Plant Sterol and Stanol Short

The subject of using plant sterols and stanols as a natural substitute for ezetimibe (Zetia) was brought up in one of the comments. Plant sterols and stanols are both natural substances that work much like the prescription drug ezetimibe in that they block the absorption of dietary cholesterol in the intestine (as opposed to statins which stimulate LDL cholesterol removal in the liver).

Both sterols and stanols work equally well although not as powerfully as ezetimibe. Of the two, plant stanols are considered superior to sterols for two reasons. First, one study found that sterols can lose effectiveness over time and stanols do not. Second, stanols are not absorbed by the body so there is little danger of toxic effects due to long-term build-up.

Stanols also do not occur as frequently in nature and appear to be more expensive to produce. It is no co-incidence then, that stanol bearing products like Benecol are more expensive than other similar products which contain sterols. In fact, I do not know of another major brand that uses stanols over sterols but Benecol.

I love this stuff primarily because I have deprived myself of so many foods I used to enjoy and can now eat a tasty "fat" without having worry that it is killing me. I am practically giddy that I can eat a piece of toast or add something to dry popcorn that is actually good for me.

Thank God for small wonders,



madcook said...

Yes, thank goodness for small favors... not to mention avoiding the constipating effects of Zetia (ezetimibe) for some folks... I personally have not found that to be the case with the stanols in Benecol. Yes, thanks indeed!

This is a very informative blog... keep up the good work!


JJC said...

i really have to agree with you on this one. I've always been a butter or nothing sort of guy. I have never found another fake butter that tasted good. But to me Benecol really tastes good and is a treat. May I suggest trying it with scottish oatcakes, a wheat free product that is very tasty.

Anonymous said...

What are you doing eating toast and popcorn? Here I'm wondering about your prior post that you can't get reversal or show <10% gain without antibiotics, and now you admit you're a toast eater! Small LDL???

And popcorn! Omega-6's anyone???

neil said...

This is pretty much off topic, but along the same lines as the Chicken Fried Bacon post a few days ago.

Trolling around the site there are numerous medical videos, the one here in this link is the atheromatous plaques that are expressed from a human aorta, an amazing amount of plaque actually. The victim is presumably deceased; I would guess he would have needed his aorta inside his body.

Somewhat gross for sensitive viewers and I don't recommend watching this while you are eating certainly...but this is a mild one compared to some of the videos. I am actually sorry I saw some of them myself.

I'm going to stick to salads...


HeartHawk said...

Heh, Heh!

Regarding the toast and popcorn, as you guessed, I do not suffer from uncorrected metabolic syndrome and its big downside - small LDL. So, I cheat a little. You are right, I probably shouldn't but hey, I'm human! I also drink WAY MORE red wine than I should (just finished a couple glasses). Like Dr. Davis once told me, "What good is it if I keep you alive but you're miserable."

Regarding the popcorn - it gets a bad rap. It has a high glycemic index but a low glycemic load. In short, while it has a ton of carbs per unit weight, most of the volume is air. Same thing with carrots. Even tho' the glycemic index is high, you can eat a lot because its mostly air! You don't get many carbs per unit volume. Just don't eat a cubic mile of it! The moral of the story, look at both glycemic index AND glycemic load. Hey, maybe that would be a good blog topic.



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