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There are many

functional foods

on the market

today in the form

of ‘quick shot’

yoghurt drinks...

but what do they

really do?

Do they really work?

Functional Foods –

Susan Kean is the Senior Outpatient Dietitian at London Bridge Hospital. Susan can provide dietetic advice for a variety of

areas, including weight loss, Diabetes, cholesterol reduction, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gout, Fatty Liver Disease and many

more. For queries about nutrition, making referrals or appointments, please contact Susan on

020 7234 2282

or via email,

[email protected]

Products available?

How do they work?

What is the evidence?

How much should

I have?

Is it safe to use them

with cholesterol-

lowering medication?

Cholesterol Lowering –

Plant stanols and sterols

Benecol, Flora pro-activ, Danone Danacol and

Mini col

They reduce cholesterol absorption from the gut.

Both the stanols and sterols have a similar effect,

one is not significantly better than the other.

2-3g of stanols and sterols per day is the amount

that research has shown to give a beneficial effect

on cholesterol lowering.

The beneficial effect only impacts if the

recommended dose is consumed



Having more than the recommended amount will

have no greater effect on lowering your cholesterol.

The beneficial effect is lost when you stop consuming

the required amount daily.

You require the beneficial dose of 2-3g of stanols

and sterols per day.

If you decide to use these foods, they should be

used in place of similar foods you may currently be

using, as these products are more expensive than

standard spreads, yoghurts and milk.

Products containing stanols and sterols are not

a substitute for lipid-lowering medication.

However, people taking such medication can

consume these products in addition, as they have

different methods of action.The overall effect of

lowering cholesterol may be greater.

Gut Health – Probiotics

Yakult, Danone Actimel (have sufficient bacteria

to have effect)

Taking probiotics may help to restore the balance

of the gut flora.

But potentially they could:

• Help the body’s defence system by inhibiting

the growth of harmful bacteria

• Help to improve digestion and possibly Irritable

Bowel Syndrome

• Help symptoms associated with lactose intolerance

• Help to improve quality of life for people

with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The evidence is still being obtained and more research

is required, but they do have the potential to improve

gut health.

As the evidence is still building, there are no specific

recommendations. However, if you feel your gut flora

may be upset, then you could try one of the probiotic

products once a day to see if your symptoms improve.

Remember, these products will

not reduce your cholesterol!

Healthy Living