Q&A with Sanitarium Nutritionist Stephanie Polson

We sat down with Sanitarium Nutritionist Stephanie Polson to discuss the new Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering breakfast food.

01. What is Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering is the first breakfast cereal in New Zealand to use plant sterols to reduce cholesterol levels in a single serve, just two biscuits are to be consumed each day.

02. Who is the product meant for?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering has been specifically made to help people lower their cholesterol if they are living with elevated LDL cholesterol. If someone isn’t after that benefit, then regular Weet-Bix is better suited to them.

03. How does Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering work?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering contains 2 grams of plant sterols per serve. This is the recommended daily intake of plant sterols to reduce cholesterol, alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle.

04. How can we be so sure that Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering works?

A clinical trial involving 46 Australian adults with high cholesterol was conducted and led by Dr Peter Clifton, Professor of Nutrition at the University of South Australia. Participants were divided into two groups – one group ate two Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering a day for four weeks, while the other group ate two regular Weet-Bix as the placebo control group for the same period. The treatment was then swapped over for the next four weeks to ensure research reliability, accuracy and validity. The study showed that by eating two Weet-Bix Cholesterol each day, cholesterol levels could be reduced by up to 9% in 4 weeks.

05. How many Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering biscuits do consumers need a day?

Just two biscuits, which is a single serve.

06. How do plant sterols work?

Plant sterols are known to naturally lower LDL (or bad) cholesterol by partially blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive system. They are found in very small quantities in a variety of plant foods like grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds. Plant-sterol enriched foods are needed to reach an effective amount of plant sterols in order to lower cholesterol.

07. Can anyone consume Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering is designed for adults needing to manage their cholesterol. It may not be suitable for children under the age of five and pregnant or lactacting women. We recommend these people consult their doctor before eating Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering.

08. A 9% reduction in cholesterol levels doesn’t sound like a lot. Why is this worth buying?

Small reductions in cholesterol can have a significant impact on your heart health, especially when these reductions in cholesterol are achieved at an early age and maintained over the long term.

The most effective cholesterol lowering dietary strategies are to replace saturated and trans fats (bad fats) with unsaturated fats (healthy fats), and increase your intake of plant sterols each day, as part of a healthy diet. These two strategies account for most of the cholesterol lowering effect that is achievable through diet.

09. What are the ingredients included in Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering is very similar to regular Weet-Bix, of course with the addition of plant sterols.  It is packed with healthy wholegrains and essential nutrients. The plant sterol ingredient used is refined from vegetable oils, such as soy and corn oil.  

10. Where can consumers get a box of Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering?

Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering will be available on major supermarket shelves in the breakfast cereal aisle in New Zealand from mid-October 2017.

11. Will the price point differ from regular Weet-Bix?

At $7.69 for a 440g package, Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering costs slightly more compared to regular Weet-Bix due to the addition of plant sterols.

Stephanie Polson completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Otago and a Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Human Nutrition) at Massey University. Her interest in food science, but ultimately her passion in human nutrition led her into the food industry. She currently chairs the New Zealand Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, is involved in the University of Otago Auckland Alumni Chapter and is working towards professional registration through the Nutrition Society of New Zealand. 

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