Bakery products enriched with phytosterol esters, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene decrease plasma LDL-cholesterol and maintain plasma beta-carotene concentrations in normocholesterolemic men and women.


Quilez J, et al.




J Nutr.


The hypocholesterolemic effects of phytosterols have not been evaluated in bakery products, and the addition of liposoluble antioxidants to the carrier has never been tested. We investigated the effects of consuming croissants and magdalenas (Spanish muffins) enriched with sterol esters, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene on plasma lipid and fat-soluble antioxidant concentrations in normocholesterolemic, habitual consumers of bakery products following their usual diet and lifestyle. Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, the control (C) group (n = 29) received two pieces daily (standard croissant and muffin) and the sterol ester (SE) group (n = 28), the same products with sterol esters added (3.2 g/d) for 8 wk. Total and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) decreased in the SE group by 0.24 mmol/L (P < 0.01) and 0.26 mmol/L (P < 0.005), respectively, whereas these variables did not change in the control group. The total difference in total and LDL-C changes between groups was 0.38 mmol/L (8.9%) and 0.36 mmol/L (14.7%), respectively (P < 0.001). Within-group changes in HDL cholesterol, triacylglycerol or lipoprotein(a) concentrations did not differ. Similarly, within-group changes over time in plasma tocopherol and carotenoid concentrations did not differ between groups. Our findings suggest that bakery products are excellent carriers for phytosterols, and their consumption is associated with a decrease in total and LDL-C concentrations, with no changes in alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene. The ability of bakery products to include sufficient quantities of beta-carotene to compensate for a potential deficiency, and the fact that their efficacy was not associated with the time of day at which they were consumed, are interesting findings