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Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jun;81(6):1351-8.

Plant sterols are efficacious in lowering plasma LDL and non-HDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic persons.

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  • 1School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Canada.



Because of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, diabetic persons have higher cholesterol synthesis and lower cholesterol absorption rates than do nondiabetic persons. Differences in plant sterol efficacy between diabetic and nondiabetic persons have not been examined.


The objective was to compare the degree of response of plasma lipid concentrations and glycemic control to plant sterol consumption in a controlled diet between hypercholesterolemic type 2 diabetic and nondiabetic subjects.


Fifteen nondiabetic subjects and 14 diabetic subjects participated in a double-blinded, randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled feeding trial. The diet included 1.8 g/d of either plant sterols or cornstarch placebo over 21 d, separated by a 28-d washout period.


Plant sterol consumption significantly reduced (P < 0.05) LDL-cholesterol concentrations from baseline in both nondiabetic and diabetic subjects by 15.1% and 26.8%, respectively. The diabetic subjects had significantly (P < 0.05) lower absolute concentrations of total cholesterol after treatment than did the nondiabetic subjects; however, there was no significant difference in the percentage change from the beginning to the end of the trial. There was also a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in absolute non-HDL-cholesterol concentrations after treatment in both groups.


The results showed that plant sterols are efficacious in lowering LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol in both diabetic and nondiabetic persons. Plant sterol consumption may exist as a dietary management strategy for hypercholesterolemia in persons with type 2 diabetes.

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