Cholesterol-lowering margarines for high cholesterol

Margarine spreads that can help to lower cholesterol levels have recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are now available in the United States. These products were developed and have been available in Finland for several years. Marketed in the U.S. as Benecol and Take Control, these margarines contain plant stanol or sterol esters from wood pulp or soybean oil.

These margarines can help lower cholesterol levels, particularly in people who have high cholesterol levels or who consume too much fat in their diets. They work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and may work best in combination with other therapies, including medicine, to lower cholesterol.

While studies indicate that these margarines can lower cholesterol levels, it has not been shown that they reduce the rates of death or heart attack.

Last Updated: July 11, 2008

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