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I write about getting more fiber all the time because it’s really important. There’s no doubt that this is one key to eating healthier and being more satisfied when you do eat. I pay attention to this in every recipe that I research and every ingredient I choose these days. When I am thinking about making a particular recipe I pay as close attention to the amount of fiber as I do to total calories and fats.


 

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More Functional Food News

A glass and a pitcher of orange juice



Recently I wrote about a cookie containing plant sterols that effectively improved cholesterol profiles in healthy, overweight volunteers (News Bite 10/03/06). Researchers at the University of California at Davis recently reported the findings of a similar study they performed on the effectiveness of a plant-sterol-fortified orange drink (Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84(4):756-61).

The reduced-calorie orange drink fortified with plant sterols was created by the Coca-Cola company, which helped fund the study along with the NIH and the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. The researchers recruited 72 healthy men and women, not on cholesterol-lowering or other medications, to participate in the study, which spanned 8 weeks.

The subjects were randomly assigned to either a placebo group (their orange drink had no plant sterols in it) or a test group (they received the fortified orange drink), and were instructed to drink 8 ounces of the orange drink at breakfast and dinner every day for eight weeks. Their blood cholesterol levels were tested before the beginning of the trial, halfway through the trial, and at the end of the trial.

As they expected, the scientists found that total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced: by 5% and 9.4%, respectively. HDL cholesterol levels were increased by 6%. As a bonus, they also found that concentrations of inflammatory markers (an indicator of heart disease) were reduced by 12%.

What this means for you:

I've mentioned Take Control® Spread and tortilla chips made by Corazonas as examples of functional foods that contain these plant sterols. I wouldn't be surprised if one day you could buy an orange drink made by Coca-Cola that contains plant sterols, too. In the mean time, we know that eating more fruits and vegetables, which contain these plant sterols, is good for your heart and bones and helps you avoid cancer. So have an orange. Or orange juice.

First posted: October 27, 2006