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anses

French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Claims

Foods fortified with phytosterols and prevention of cardiovascular disease

Updated on 03/08/2016

Keywords : Claims, Phytosterols, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular disease

Phytosterols are natural compounds found in plants that can lower blood cholesterol levels by competing with cholesterol absorption in the gut. EU regulations authorise claims on the labels of products fortified with phytosterols indicating that they lower blood cholesterol and that lowering blood cholesterol may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. A consumer association asked ANSES to assess the risks and benefits of consuming this type of food product. In its expert assessment, ANSES emphasises that while phytosterols do indeed contribute to a reduction in blood cholesterol, none of the currently available data demonstrate that they have any beneficial effect with regard to prevention of cardiovascular disease, nor can they lead to consider that phytosterol-fortified foods might be an appropriate method for preventing this condition at the population level.

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