European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 214–222

Plant sterol ester–enriched milk and yoghurt effectively reduce serum cholesterol in modestly hypercholesterolemic subjects

  • Manny Noakes
  • P. M. Clifton
  • A. M. E. Doornbos
  • E. A. Trautwein

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-004-0513-z

Cite this article as:
Noakes, M., Clifton, P.M., Doornbos, A.M.E. et al. Eur J Nutr (2005) 44: 214. doi:10.1007/s00394-004-0513-z



The cholesterol–lowering efficacy of plant sterol esters (PSteE) or stanol esters (PStaE) in regular– and low–fat spreads has been consistently demonstrated, while their effectiveness in a low–fat, aqueous food carrier such as milk and yoghurt is less well established.

Aim of the study

Two studies were carried out to assess the cholesterol–lowering effect of PSteE–enriched low-fat milk and PSteE– and PStaE–enriched low–fat yoghurt in modestly hypercholesterolemic subjects (total cholesterol between 5–7.5 mmol/l).


Study one was a single blind crossover design with 4 phases of 3–week interventions. Subjects consumed 300ml/d of placebo or PSteE–milk (2.0 g plant sterols/d) alone or combined with 25 g/d of placebo or PSteE–spread. Study two was a fully randomised, double blind crossover design with 3 phases of 3–week interventions. Subjects consumed 2 portions (150 g tubs each) of placebo, PSteE–yoghurt (1.8 g plant sterols/d) or PStaE–yoghurt (1.7 g plant stanols/d). In study one 39 subjects (21 men and 18 women) and in study two 40 subjects (17 men and 23 women) completed the dietary intervention.


In study one, PSteE–milk and PSteE–spread were equally efficacious in lowering total and LDL–cholesterol as compared to placebo by 6–8% and 8–10%, respectively. No significant additional cholesterol–lowering was observed with the combination of PSteE–milk and PSteE–spread (4 g plant sterols/d). PSteE–enriched milk and the combination of PSteE–enriched milk plus spread both lowered lipid–adjusted serum β–carotene concentrations by 10–14% (P < 0.02),while the PSteE–rich spread alone did not significantly alter serum β–carotene levels. In study two, the PSteE– and PStaE–enriched yoghurts reduced LDL–cholesterol significantly compared to placebo by 0.27 ± 0.05 mmol/l (6%) and 0.23 ± 0.05 mmol/l (5 %), respectively. In both studies, there was no effect on HDL–cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations.


Plant sterols in the form of their esters when provided in lowfat milk and yoghurt are effective in lowering total and LDL–cholesterol.

Key words

modestly hypercholesterolemic subjectsmilkyoghurtplant sterolslow–fat foods



body mass index


plant sterol esters


plant stanol esters


total cholesterol


low density lipoprotein


high density lipoprotein

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manny Noakes
    • 1
    • 2
  • P. M. Clifton
    • 1
  • A. M. E. Doornbos
    • 3
  • E. A. Trautwein
    • 3
  1. 1.CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition AdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Adelaide, BC SA 5000Australia
  3. 3.Unilever Health InstituteUnilever Research & DevelopmentVlaardingenThe Netherlands