Plant sterols and Stanols are non-nutritive, molecular compounds found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. They are very effective at lowering LDL, bad cholesterol, by preventing the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
In recent years, the food industry has fortified foods such as margarine, orange juice, crackers and granola bars with these sterols/Stanols. The research is so strong in supporting the role of sterols/Stanols in lowering LDL cholesterol, the FDA gave them a status of a "health claim.” These products will have the "heart health" label on the front.
This isn't a free pass to eat more processed foods but rather consider a swap if cholesterol is a concern.
Lindsey Hester, Registered Dietitian
The Memorial Hospital-Craig