British Journal of Nutrition vol:105 issue:6 pages:911-918
The present study describes the consumption of foods enriched with plant sterols (PS) and supplements containing PS, and evaluates PS intakes via the current consumption and for specific consumption scenarios. A market inventory was performed to collate different PS-enriched food items and supplements available in Belgium. An FFQ was developed to investigate the consumption of PS-enriched foods and supplements. A total of 139 pre-school children (2.5-7 years old) and 569 adults (308 women and 261 men) living in Flanders (the northern, Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) participated in the study. Of these, 21% (Flemish pre-school children) and 28.5% (Flemish adults) consume PS-enriched food products, leading to a mean PS intake in the consumer group of 0.70 (SD 0.61) g/d for pre-school children and 1.51 (SD 1.42) g/d for adults. Of the adult PS consumers, 23.2% did not suffer from elevated blood cholesterol levels; 50% of them had a PS intake less than or equal to 1 g/d and 16.4% had a PS intake above 3 g/d and 7.8% even had an intake above 4 g/d. Scenario studies assessed the intake when all Belgian adults would consume PS-enriched margarines without (scenario 1) or with (scenario 2) a daily consumption of a PS-enriched yoghurt drink. This resulted in an intake above 3 g/d in 17% (women) and 29% (men) for scenario 1 and 40% (women) and 53% (men) for scenario 2. The results indicate that PS-enriched food products are also consumed by the non-target group. Efficient communication tools are needed to inform consumers better about the target group of PS-enriched products, the advised dose per day and alternative dietary strategies to lower the blood cholesterol level.