Functional foods are foods found in nature that improve overall health by lowering the risk of disease without harmful side effects — and they are the hottest topic in the food industry.
With heart disease the number one cause of death in the United States, health-conscious consumers are looking for a natural way to lower cholesterol.
Plant sterols are classified as a functional food because they naturally reduce cholesterol.
In the last 50 years, more than 140 published clinical studies have shown that plant sterols lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The European market has been adding plant sterols to foods for more than a decade, and the trend is now starting to boom in America. Because they are tasteless, they can be added to dairy, baked goods, and beverages for a safe and effective way to potentially lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.
Most of the plant sterols used in the United States come from genetically modified sources such as corn and soy. However, there are U.S. pine tree sterols that are not genetically engineered (non-GMO). Pine tree sterols are now available to be added to foods to increase their health benefits.
HEATBAR Oatmeal Squares, an amazing product that I eat every morning, use an ingredient called Protanica which is non-GMO plant sterol. Each HEARTBAR Oatmeal Square is infused with 0.8 grams of plant sterols, which naturally occur in fruits and vegetables.
If you eat 1 HEARTBAR Oatmeal Square, you’ve eaten the same amount of plant sterols found in 61 tomatoes, or 36 bananas, or 30 apples.
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Posts by Kelly Springer, RD
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