There are many
on the market
today in the form
of ‘quick shot’
but what do they
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]
How do they work?
What is the evidence?
How much should
Is it safe to use them
Cholesterol Lowering –
Plant stanols and sterols
Benecol, Flora pro-activ, Danone Danacol and
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
• 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
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!