Benecol spread is a vegetable stanol-based butter substitute that is marketed as a way to lower cholesterol levels. The spread is designed to look and taste like regular butter or margarine, but with added health benefits.
In this blog post, we will explore whether Benecol Spread is right for you by looking at its ingredients, nutritional content, health benefits, and potential downsides.
What is the Benecol spread made of?
Benecol offers a range of spread options including Benecol Butter Spread, Benecol Light Spread and Benecol Olive Spread. Of these options, Benecol Buttery Spread is the most popular choice. If you are interested in the ingredients present in this spread, here is a brief overview of them:
- rapeseed oil – a vegetable oil extracted from rapeseed plants
- Water – the main liquid component of the spread
- Vegetable stanol ester – Plant stanols and plant sterols are natural compounds found in fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, grains and nuts. However, the typical Western diet contains an amount that is too low to have a significant cholesterol lowering effect. This is why plant stanols are added to cholesterol-lowering products in the form of the plant stanol ester, which maintains the effectiveness of the ingredient without altering the taste or texture of the food product.
- Responsible Sourcing Palm oil – a type of vegetable oil
- Buttermilk Powder – a dry form of buttermilk that adds texture and creamy taste to spreads
- Salt (1%) – to enhance flavor
- Emulsifiers (Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Sunflower Lecithin) – helps blend ingredients and improve texture
- Natural aromas – used to enhance the flavor of the spread
- Acidity regulator (Citric acid) – added to maintain the acidity level of the spread
- Color (carotenes) – gives the spread its yellow color
- Vitamin A and Vitamin D3 – vitamins added for nutritional value
It is important to note that Benecol Buttery Spread contains plant stanols as its main active ingredient, which is the compound responsible for its cholesterol-lowering properties.
Each 100g of Benecol contains 6.6g of plant stanols, and you can get its beneficial effects by consuming 1.5-3g daily. However, it is not recommended to take more than 3 grams in a single day.
Benecol Light spread contains very similar ingredients, except it does not contain buttermilk and instead contains whey powder and modified starch, to make it less fatty. It also contains preservative potassium sorbate which is not found in Benecol Buttery spread.
The Benecol olive oil spread, on the other hand, contains 11% olive oil, along with some of the other ingredients found in other Benecol spreads, such as canola oil. , buttermilk, vegetable stanols and the like.
Benecol spreadable butter contains 54 calories per 10 g (2 teaspoon) serving and contains 5.9 grams of fat, including 1.1 grams of saturated fat. It has no protein and almost no carbohydrates.
In one serving of Benecol spread you will find 0.7g of plant stanols and to fully experience its benefits you will need to consume 3 servings a day which will give you 2.1g of plant stanols.
Other important nutrients in Benecol Buttery Spread include vitamins A and D3, both of which are important for healthy vision, bone growth and a strong immune system.
Finally, omega-3 fatty acids are also present in Benecol spread which are important for heart health.
Health Benefits of Benecol Spread
The main health benefit of Benecol Buttery Spread is its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Plant stanols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which can lead to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Studies have shown that consuming 2-3 grams of plant stanols daily can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.
And because lower LDL levels can reduce the risk of heart disease, Benecol is a great way to maintain heart health.
Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids found in Benecol Buttery Spread can help reduce inflammation and are also beneficial for heart health.
Finally, Benecol is a low calorie and low fat alternative to butter and other spreads, rich in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.
Benecol Buttery Spread vs Butter – Comparison
Traditional butter is a dairy product made from milk or cream, containing approximately 100 calories and 11 grams of total fat (7 g of saturated fat) per tablespoon. It also contains important nutrients such as vitamins A, D and E.
Benecol Buttery Spread, on the other hand, is a plant-based spread made with non-hydrogenated vegetable oils and a unique ingredient called vegetable stanol ester, which has been shown to help reduce the rate of LDL (bad) cholesterol. A table spoon of Benecol spread contains only 50 calories and 5.4 grams of total fat (0.7 g of saturated fat).
A significant benefit of Benecol Buttery Spread is its outstanding cholesterol lowering function. The stanols and plant sterols found in the spread work to block cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract, lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Studies have shown that including 2 grams of stanols or plant sterols in your daily diet can help lower LDL cholesterol levels by 10%, reducing the risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, consuming butter, especially in large amounts, can help raise cholesterol levels and is not recommended for people with heart problems or high cholesterol.
How effective is Benecol Buttery Spread in lowering cholesterol?
Many studies examined the impact of plant stanols on cholesterol, and it was found that products fortified with plant sterols, including Benecol, can lower LDL cholesterol (commonly known as “bad” cholesterol) by approximately 10%.
However, the effectiveness of these products varies depending on several factors, such as an individual’s baseline LDL levels, dietary support, and frequency and timing of consumption.
Incorporating plant sterols into fat spreads, mayonnaise and salad dressing, milk and yogurt is more effective than using croissants, muffins, orange juice, fat-free drinks, cereal bars or chocolate.
It should also be noted that consuming plant sterols in a single morning dose did not significantly affect LDL cholesterol levels.
Overall, scientific evidence suggests that consuming Benecol spreads is quite effective in lowering cholesterol levels in individuals, however, you need to ensure that you are taking the right amount of Benecol spreads to get the most out of it. all the benefits.
Also, it is important to remember that plant sterols should be included in a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to achieve maximum cholesterol lowering effect.
Potential Disadvantages of Benecol
Although Benecol is a great way to lower cholesterol levels and is generally safe, it is important to note that there may be some potential downsides to consider.
First, some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea when consuming plant sterols in large quantities. Additionally, consuming too many stanols or plant sterols is not recommended, as this can interfere with the absorption of other essential nutrients.
Second, it is important to note that Benecol spread is not suitable for people with a rare genetic condition called sitosterolemia. This condition causes the buildup of high levels of plant sterols in the body, which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Finally, it is important to remember that Benecol is not a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. A balanced diet and regular physical activity are the best ways to maintain a healthy heart.
Overall, although Benecol Spread is generally safe and effective in lowering cholesterol levels, it is important to speak to a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your diet to ensure that it is for you. appropriate and to monitor for any potential side effects.
How to incorporate Benecol Spread into your diet
Incorporating Benecol spread into your diet is relatively easy and can be done in a number of ways. A simple method is to use Benecol spread as a replacement for traditional butter or margarine on bread, toast and crackers.
Additionally, Benecol spread can be used in recipes as a replacement for other spreads, such as mayonnaise or cream cheese, to add a cholesterol-lowering boost to your meals.
It is important to remember that the recommended daily intake of plant sterols is 2-3 grams per day, which can be achieved by consuming 3 servings of Benecol spread.
However, it’s always best to speak to a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet to make sure it’s right for you and to monitor for any potential side effects.
Final Verdict – Is Benecol Buttery Spread Good For You Or Not?
Based on scientific evidence, it is clear that Benecol is an effective and safe way to lower cholesterol levels when consumed in sufficient amounts as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.
It is important to remember that Benecol is not suitable for everyone, so please consult a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet.
Additionally, it is important to ensure that the recommended daily allowance is not exceeded. If you’re looking for an easy way to lower your cholesterol, Benecol is definitely worth considering.