HEART UK has defended the use of plant sterols and stanols following reports that they could cause a risk to cardiovascular health.
There have been reports that have suggested that plant sterols and stanols may increase the risk of heart disease, however HEART UK chief executive Jules Payne believes that a recent study mentioned in the reports provides no compelling evidence that highlight significant risks.
Payne said: “This study has not changed the consensus of scientific opinion that there is no link between plant sterol consumption and the risk of heart disease, independent of the proven cholesterol lowering effect.
“The safety of plant sterols and stanols in foods to lower raised cholesterol has already been extensively assessed by the European Commission. Plant sterol- and stanol-enriched foods are recommended by leading authorities such as the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) for the management of blood cholesterol concentrations.”
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According to the charity, the call for a safety assessment on plant sterols is based on only one new study that reports no association between sterol consumption and a potential marker of cardio vascular disease risk.
What are Phytosterols?
Phytosterol enriched foods and dietary supplements have been marketed for decades. Despite well documented cholesterol lowering effect, there is no evidence of any beneficial effect on lowering cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk or overall mortality,
The report also called for the European authorities to consider management measures for plant sterols to ensure consumption is limited to people with raised cholesterol, despite all their products having clear labelling on pack, identifying the target groups for the product.
Press release HeartUK