Sterols (Flora pro Active et al)

The following is from Dr. Briffa's latest posting:

'Some people at increased risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) might avoid the need to use drugs to modify their cholesterol levels if they make sufficient changes to their diet. Plant sterols and stanols have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, but it is not known whether the consumption of plant sterols as part of a low-fat diet will provide worthwhile additional benefit and whether they reduce CVD events.

There is a need for trials to test both efficacy and effectiveness of plant sterols and stanols in people who are at high risk of a first CVD event. These trials should test whether plant sterols or stanols change lipid profiles and reduce CVD events under best possible conditions. Randomised controlled trials are needed to test the effectiveness of advising people who are at high risk of experiencing a first CVD event to include food items containing plant sterols or stanols in a low-fat diet. The trial should last for at least 2 years and should consider appropriate outcomes.


People should not routinely be recommended to take plant sterols and stanols for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease'.

Read the above very carefully!

Now, the above might give succour to folk who espouse 'eat butter, it tastes great and rather than killing you is rather good for heart health' school of thinking. But the folk who think that man made 'heart healthy' fats churned in vast stainless steel, high pressure and chemically prodded God knows what is the way to go might question the source of the statement.

Well, it comes from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence - most people will be aware of it's acronym NICE .

These are the people at the forefront of deciding the best outcomes from the best science with the public interest at the forefront.

Mashed spud with butter and cream?

or Benecol/Flora?

What's the vote?

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9 Replies

  • No contest! Having tried the substance named Benecol spread, which masquerades as real food, I can testify that not only does it taste foul, but it leaves a plastic flavoured oily film in my mouth. How can this be classed as a healthier alternative to butter?

  • Butter every time.

  • Hello,

    The new format is confusing!, have to move on with technology.

    Now days, for me it is real butter, cream, cheese and blue top milk. NHS food specialist is not happy with my food plan but I am happy! not taking too much carbohydrate. Planning do a 24 hour blood sugar test at home to produce a graph to compare it with a normal one if there is on.

  • Yes Bala, I'm finding the new layout confusing as well ! I'm quoting from Dr Margaret McCartney "The Patient Paradox" she says what should be on the tubs is "Proven to lower cholesterol a bit. Not proven to independently lower risk of heart attack or stroke".

    There are other products other than spread/margarine . I'm currently taking the yoghurt drinks in the hope that it will just be an add on to the one cholestagel tablet I take, before next blood test. I am already in the "cholesterol system" if you want to put it like that and I am doing my best to tweak it to what I want.

  • I would not recommend this doctor - she doesn't even have cholesterol checks herself as she thinks it's not helpful to know your levels - very wacky views

  • For the fat, natural butter. For the mash, a lower GI alternative such as sweet potato, or mashed cauliflower.

  • As someone who has had to avoid any dairy for two years and is now slowly incorporating butter and cheese into my diet (these are minus the milk protein that I have trouble with as they are pure butter fat) I totally agree with as natural a diet as possible. I think it was the years of "unnatural" food that I have been eating as an adult that has caused my dietary problem. As someone who was raised on "raw" milk, home grown fruit and veg and our own eggs and poultry with local meat from the butcher and fish from the sea nearby I truly believe that we are poisoning ourselves with the "healthy" food we get in our supermarkets these days! I may be talking out of my hat but I am absolutely convinced we need to get back to the "old" days when food was local, air miles did not exist and food was in season. Am I right?

  • I agree I have Benecol. Gone are the days of too much cheese, butter and full fat milk. I can't even drink full fat milk anymore - it no longer even tastes right!

  • Who are you agreeing with grachap?

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