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Composition of Plant Sterols and Stanols in Supplemented Food Products

Moreau, Robert A.
Journal of AOAC International 2015 v.98 no.3 pp. 685-690
blood serum, byproducts, cholesterol, coproducts, fatty acid esters, feedstocks, fruits, functional foods, grains, humans, plant stanols, pulping, refining, sterol esters, tall oil, vegetable oil, vegetables, vegetarian diet, wood, Finland
fruits, vegetables, grains and other plant materials contain small amounts of plant sterols, which are essential for the function of the biological membranes in living cells. The average human consumption of plant sterols has been estimated to be about 150–350 mg/day and trace amounts of stanols (which are defined as saturated sterols such as sitostanol), but this number varies regionally and is higher for vegetarians. When consumed in the diet, plant sterols reduce the levels of serum cholesterol. In 1995 the first functional food product, Benecol spread (enriched in plant stanol fatty acid esters), was developed by Raisio and marketed, first in Finland and then globally. Since then many other functional food products have been developed and are now available globally. In addition to stanol esters, other functional food products contain plant sterol esters and/or free (unesterified) plant sterols and stanols. In essentially all of the current functional foods that are enriched in sterols and stanols, the feedstock from which the sterols and stanols are obtained is either tall oil (a byproduct/ coproduct of the pulping of pine wood) or vegetable oil deodorizer distillate (a byproduct/coproduct of the refining of vegetable oils).