Foodwatch warns of cholesterol-lowering margarine

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Foodwatch advocates a stop of margarine sales with plant sterols

In a current campaign, the consumer protection organization Foodwatch warns of margarine, which is supposed to lower cholesterol levels with the help of plant sterols (phytosterols). The cholesterol-lowering plant sterols should not be used for self-medication due to possible side effects, according to the current message from the consumer protection organization.

If you have problems with your cholesterol or blood lipid levels, you should urgently see a doctor and not try to get me at questionable food products to get the problem under control, Foodwatch explained. Because the supposed cholesterol-lowering agents, like margarine enriched with phytosterols, can sometimes cause considerable side effects. If you do not have any problems with your cholesterol level, you should definitely avoid using the corresponding products, according to the current warning from Foodwatch.

Side effects of the cholesterol-lowering margarine stone of toasting is the margarine "Becel pro activ" from the manufacturer Unilever for Foodwatch, which promises to lower the cholesterol level through the phytosterols it contains and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to the consumer protection organization, "Becel pro activ apparently does not want to be a simple food, but preferably also a drug." However, the high concentration of plant sterols may have considerable side effects, especially since the recommended daily dose on the package contains as much phytosterols "as around 5 , 5 kilograms of broccoli or 16 kilograms of bananas, ”explained Foodwatch. Why the margarine with its drug-like effect is sold in the supermarket and not in the pharmacy is incomprehensible from the perspective of the consumer protection organization. In addition, numerous experts such as Dr. Oliver Weingärtner from the Saarland University in Homburg an der Saar has been pointing out possible health risks from increased phytosterol intake for some time. According to Weingärtner, a number of experimental and clinical studies have shown clear signs that phytosterols are deposited in the organism and may even have negative effects on the heart and blood vessels.

Controversial effect on the risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks In addition, Foodwatch emphasized that "there is a huge difference between effect and benefit". Although the cholesterol-lowering effect of the phytosterols is clear, it has not yet been clarified whether this actually entails a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. This leaves the health benefits of the products open. However, since cholesterol levels have been shown to be reduced, people with normal blood lipid levels should generally avoid margarine with phytosterols, the consumer protection organization said. However, according to consumer advocates, the supposedly healthy margarine is not readily recommended even to people with high cholesterol. In response to the current Foodwatch campaign, the manufacturer Unilever emphasized that "the cholesterol-lowering effect of the products has been proven and undisputed in over 40 studies", but Foodwatch complained that "the group does not point out the possible health risks." Contrary to Unilever's claim that the reduction in low-density lipoprotein values ​​achieved through phytosterols (LDL, cholesterol transport vehicle in the organism) generally brings about a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease, until today evidence of a corresponding effect. At the position of Foodwatch, Unilever's statement that the positive effect has been proven for all methods of lowering cholesterol changed little. (fp)

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