Kiwis’ Cholesterol Levels Set to Benefit from New Food Innovation

( A new innovation to a breakfast food first introduced almost 90 years ago will see the country’s most popular cereal brand introduce a new product containing plant sterols which are clinically proven to reduce LDL (or bad) cholesterol by up to nine per cent in four weeks.

According to Ministry of Health statistics,’ approximately one in four NZ adults need to manage their cholesterol levels for their heart health.

Sanitarium has launched a NZ-first extension to its iconic Weet-Bix, Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering, following a clinical study which showed a significant improvement in the cholesterol levels of adults who consumed it.

Professor Peter Clifton who led the clinical trial says small reductions in cholesterol can have a significant impact on overall heart health long term, especially when achieved at an early age and maintained over time.

“While increasing your intake of plant sterols is one of the most effective dietary measures to lower cholesterol, getting sufficient amounts in plant foods alone can be difficult,” says Professor Clifton.

“The new breakfast food is the most innovative cholesterol lowering product I’ve seen in 15 years. Breakfast is an essential part of every diet, so combining the cholesterol-lowering properties of plant sterols into a cereal product is a clever solution to one of the biggest health challenges we face in our busy, modern lives,” he says.

Plant sterols are known to naturally lower cholesterol by partially reducing the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive system. They are found in a variety of foods like grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds but only in very small quantities.

Sanitarium will hold exclusive permission in the Food Standards Code for Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) for up to a year for including an increased amount of plant sterols in breakfast cereal – as such it will be the only product on the market to contain 2 grams of plant sterols per serve. Prior to this, regulations only permitted a maximum of around 1 gram of plant sterols in a single serve of food.

Rob Scoines GM of Sanitarium NZ says the company is dedicated to improving Kiwi lives through better nutrition.

“We know that maintaining good heart health is one of the most important considerations for making a significant and positive impact on the long term wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“We are committed to investing in innovative food solutions which will make a real difference in the lives of thousands of Kiwis managing their cholesterol. Weet-Bix Cholesterol Lowering is a convenient way for consumers to effectively take charge of their heart health,” he says.

Media Release 15 September 2017.