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This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

"Low-fat, plant stanol ester-containing margarines are effective cholesterol-lowering products in hypercholesterolemic subjects when used as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet," clinical trial published in the March American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Maarit Hallikainen, et al., University of Kuopio, Finland, concludes. McNeil Consumer Healthcare says the study demonstrates "for the first time that low-fat versions" of a stanol margarine "can significantly reduce the levels of LDL the blood by an average of 24% when combined with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet." In the study, subjects ate approximately 5 teaspoons per day of a stanol low-fat margarine. The study indicates stanol margarines can reduce blood cholesterol "even better in conjunction with a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet," a researcher cited by McNeil says. "Moreover, the findings suggest that plant stanols inhibit not only the absorption of dietary cholesterol but also that of cholesterol produced in the liver." McNeil plans to introduce Benecol as a conventional food in the U.S. after running afoul of FDA for planning to market Benecol as a dietary supplement ("The Tan Sheet" Feb. 1, p. 4)

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