Optimal Phytosterol Source

Optimal Phytosterol Source
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Whole food sources of phytosterols, such as seeds and nuts, are likely superior to supplements, or phytosterol-fortified spreads and beverages.

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Though nuts and seeds are packed with phytosterols, phytosterols are typically prescribed in butter form. I kid you not. Or, in margarine—even worse. For those wanting to lower their heart disease risk, eating trans fats is the last thing you need. Eating margarine to get phytosterols is like eating fish to get omega-3s.

Remember, food is a package deal. By choosing plant-based sources, we can get the nutrients we want, without trans fats or mercury. Eating nuts and seeds offers the good, without the bad.

And, studies show smaller, more frequent doses may be more effective than one big dose in a spread or pill—which makes total sense, right, given the trash-picker analogy? We want to have phytosterols constantly flowing through our gut throughout the day, so they’ll continue to keep stuffing the bins of our intestinal lining cells, allowing excess cholesterol to pass.

Another reason that pills may not work as well is that we need fat to optimally absorb phytosterols. So, that’s why they package it in margarine spreads. But, nature put phytosterols right where you need it—in nuts and seeds, which have more than enough fat. But, now, there’s like phytosterol-fortified orange juice, and lemonade. And, like with the pills, we would not expect phytosterols to be as effectively absorbed.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Though nuts and seeds are packed with phytosterols, phytosterols are typically prescribed in butter form. I kid you not. Or, in margarine—even worse. For those wanting to lower their heart disease risk, eating trans fats is the last thing you need. Eating margarine to get phytosterols is like eating fish to get omega-3s.

Remember, food is a package deal. By choosing plant-based sources, we can get the nutrients we want, without trans fats or mercury. Eating nuts and seeds offers the good, without the bad.

And, studies show smaller, more frequent doses may be more effective than one big dose in a spread or pill—which makes total sense, right, given the trash-picker analogy? We want to have phytosterols constantly flowing through our gut throughout the day, so they’ll continue to keep stuffing the bins of our intestinal lining cells, allowing excess cholesterol to pass.

Another reason that pills may not work as well is that we need fat to optimally absorb phytosterols. So, that’s why they package it in margarine spreads. But, nature put phytosterols right where you need it—in nuts and seeds, which have more than enough fat. But, now, there’s like phytosterol-fortified orange juice, and lemonade. And, like with the pills, we would not expect phytosterols to be as effectively absorbed.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Nota del Doctor

This closes out a five-part video series on the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts and seeds (see Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering). See How Fiber Lowers Cholesterol for an explanation of the “trash-picker analogy,” then How Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol, and Optimal Phytosterol Dose. I elaborate on the “package deal” concept in Risk Associated With Iron SupplementsSafest Source of B12Plant Protein Preferable; and Food Is a Package Deal. I have dozens of videos on fish; for a few on why fish are not the best choices for omega-3s, see Nerves of MercuryThe Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages; and Dioxins in the Food Supply. Don’t nuts make you fat, though? That’s the topic of Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence.

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

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