Benecol is the name of a bunch of branded foods meant to lower cholesterol thru an all natural blended extract. Available for consumption are butters, nutritional chews, and they sell their cholesterol lowering extract to companies.
They offer customers the opportunity to reduce bad LDL cholesterol in a minimum 2 week period. Though they also mention diet and exercise are necessary for actual results.
This product has a lot to offer if the claims are true, so just how factual are they?
McNeil Nutritionals, LLC market this brand and they belong to the Johnson & Johnson company. In 2023 they voluntarily recalled several children’s health products due to fear of contamination. After this came about further investigations were brought to the company for their history of contamination.
The key ingredient are Stanol Esters which come from plants. Typically 90% of it is lost in the stool as opposed to being absorbed. They work inside the body by providing fatty acids which help to lower bad LDL cholesterol from clogging arteries.
Typically cholesterol obtained thru eating is around 10% of the cholesterol affected. Most cholesterol is changed thru eating less saturated foods and exercising. The Benecol chews for example have been shown to potentially drop 10% to 25% which means only 2.5% or so of cholesterol is blocked.
This amount is really small when considering the effect exercise and diet could play instead. Also since their chews contain 7 grams of sugar per 2 chews it could also in turn raise blood sugar levels. Taking in the butter with Plant Sterols also had its own set of issues as there are preservatives present.
Benecol has different products available but their butter has preservatives and their chews have corn syrup which can lead to dental cavities and obesity. To avoid cheap sugar substitutes and preservatives look at the all natural products that best suit you.
-Plant Stanol Esters: Found in small amounts of veggies, fruits and other foods. It looks and works similar to cholesterol but instead is meant to reduce LDL cholesterol.
Potential Side Effects: Indigestion, stomach pain, heavy stools and diarrhea.
There’s opportunities in the market for versions of this product in chewables, yoghurts, breads and even regular or low fat butter.
While the key active ingredient can lower the LDL cholesterol that is considered bad, it’s only in small amounts and most of which can be found thru regular foods. In fact since various foods already contain these Plant Esters it would be cheaper and more readily available elsewhere.
Currently the extract of the key active ingredient Plant Esters is meant to be included with diet and exercise. Diet and exercise alone already have a major impact on cholesterol. Their brand contains about 0.8 grams of Plant Sterols per serving which are amounts already found in foods
By taking Benecol products there is an influx of negative impact ingredients found. For example their butter has preservatives which may prove harmful to one’s diet and well being. Also their chewables contain corn syrup, food colorings and dairy. By taking food colorings there is an increase of side effects including headaches and hyperactivity. The amount of sugar inside can also lead to obesity and can affect blood sugar negatively.
The company brags about having an all natural extract yet they add artificial ingredients inside their products which take away from that brag. Sure one of their ingredients is natural but what about the others that can cause potential side effects? Their own bragging rights are stripped when they contradict themselves and other unnecessary ingredients.
The key ingredient is a good source of cholesterol lowering, but it can be purchased for cheaper and in safer sources than what Benecol has to offer. Instead of taking supplements and food products with amounts of preservatives unseen in whole foods, it would be easier on your wallet to just eat the vegetables, grains, fruits and other sources that contain Plant Esters. The addition of diet and exercise complicates things further as it can already reduce cholesterol. It’s unclear what is having the overall effect at that point.
While the key ingredient is a good idea, it becomes hard to take when you factor in that it’s available in many foods and that the supplement form has ingredients that aren’t as wholesome. All natural brands are available that feature ingredients that aren’t already found in your diet and that can produce results.
Ultimately this product is a more expensive and unnecessary addition that can already be found elsewhere. Instead of dealing with that lack of satisfaction search for the products which can offer you results you deserve.
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