Cholesterol-lowering additive: Margarine, fruit juice, bread, dietary supplements.
These substances are minor components of membranes in many nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fruits, vegetables and other foods. They are chemically related to cholesterol. They are more easily incorporated into foods (other than fruit juices) when they are converted to ester forms. Then, when consumed in high doses from foods or dietary supplements, the sterol or stanol esters reduce the absorption of cholesterol from food and can lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol levels by 10 to 15 percent. They are not toxic, but they may reduce the body's absorption of nutrients called carotenoids that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.