The phytosterols are the food industry equivalent of the statins for the pharmaceutical industry. A very lucrative business, in this case the of the functional foods to reduce the cholesterol. Do I sound?
Phytosterols are molecules of vegetable origin that have a structure very similar to cholesterol animal competing in the intestines with the absorption of cholesterol. The food with the highest amount of phytosterols are: oils, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains.
It is true that the consumption of a daily dose between The 1.5 and 2.4 gr of phytosterols during 3 weeks reduced the level of cholesterol in blood, a fact that takes advantage of the food industry to promote their alleged healthy properties.
Because as is the case with statins is a half-truth since there is no scientific evidence that proves the causal relationship between cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition we should not forget the side effects, because it seems that phytosterols decrease the absorption of other nutrients by the same mechanism of competition that we have previously cited. In fact, the recommendations for consumption are:
- Do not consume more than 3 g of phytosterols per day.
- Are not suitable for pregnant women or in period of lactation.
- Are not suitable for children under the age of 5 years.
- Accompany a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables.
- Consult the doctor if you already take medication for cholesterol reduction.
And yet there is more, the European Food Safety authority (EFSA) has demanded that the labelling of functional foods with phytosterols to reduce cholesterol it is indicated that are not intended for persons with normal levels in blood of this molecule (cholesterol).
Below as an example we show the text included in the the foot of the page of the Web of one of those functional products:
By everything we've seen, we propose to follow a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, accompanied by physical exercise and restand forget about phytosterols.
Your health will thank you!