Effects of plant stanol esters supplied in low-fat yoghurt on serum lipids and lipoproteins, non-cholesterol sterols and fat soluble antioxidant concentrations

R.P. Mensink*, S. Ebbing, M.J. Lindhout, J. Plat, M.M.A. van Heugten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, Netherlands. r.mensink@hb.unimaas.nl

Oil-based products enriched with plant stanol esters can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations by 10-14%. Effectiveness of low-fat products, however, has never been evaluated, although such products fit into a healthy diet. We therefore examined the effects of plant stanol esters emulsified into low-fat yoghurt (0.7% fat) on fasting concentrations of plasma lipids and lipid-soluble antioxidants, which may also change by plant stanol consumption. Sixty non-hypercholesterolemic subjects first consumed daily three cups (3 x 150 ml) of placebo yoghurt for 3 weeks. For the next 4 weeks, 30 subjects continued with the placebo yoghurt, while the other 30 subjects received three cups of experimental yoghurt. Each cup provided 1 g of plant stanols (0.71 g sitostanol plus 0.29 g campestanol) as its fatty acid ester. LDL cholesterol (mean+/-S.D.) increased by 0.06+/-0.21 mmol/l in the placebo group, but decreased by -0.34+/-0.30 mmol/l in the experimental group. The difference in changes between the two groups of 0.40 mmol or 13.7% was highly significant (P<0.001; 95% confidence interval for the difference, (-)0.26 -(-)0.53 mmol/l). Effects were already maximal after 1 week. HDL cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations did not change. Total tocopherol levels increased by 1.43 micromol/mmol LDL cholesterol (14.0%, P=0.015). beta-carotene levels, however, decreased by -0.02 micromol/mmol LDL cholesterol (-14.4%, P=0.038). Decreases in absolute beta-carotene concentrations were found in all apoB-containing lipoproteins. LDL-cholesterol standardised phytofluene levels decreased by 21.4+/-25.7% (P<0.001), while other plasma carotenoid (lutein/zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and alpha-carotene) levels did not change significantly. We conclude that low-fat yoghurt enriched with plant stanol esters lowers within 1 week LDL cholesterol to the same extent as oil-based products. LDL-cholesterol standardised concentrations of tocopherol increased. The observed decrease in beta-carotene levels, as found in many other studies, appears not to be limited to the LDL fraction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-213
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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