Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Does Benecol Really Lower Cholesterol?

When first hearing about the product Benecol, which is a type of margarine aimed at lowering cholesterol, I was very skeptical of it. I never thought it would work, because how can changing one tiny part of your diet change your cholesterol level that much. Being as skeptical as I was, I went on the do some research to see what the experts say about Benecol.

The first article I found on this product was one by Beth Brophy and David Schardt from Nutrition Action: Health Letter. They looked through the case studies and decided that this product did help lower cholesterol by about ten percent, but there were still some unanswered health questions to be answered. This article is still unconvinced about the products safeness, but thinks that it has been much better tested then other foods and thinks it’s fine to use as a supplement to margarine, 

Another article I read was one from the  New York Times. This source once again agreed that Benecol was proven to lower cholesterol to some extent, but there could potentially be some serious health risks going along with it. The New York Times thinks the health risks greatly outweigh the health benefits so they do not recommend using this product in your daily life or at all for that matter.

Honestly I think this product has been proven to lower cholesterol, but more importantly it has not been proven to be safe. In saying this I would not recommend this product to anyone. I think there are much better alternatives to lowering a person’s cholesterol. They could exercise more, eat less fatty foods, or take some form of medication. Obviously all of these things have their own inconveniences and aren’t as simple as changing the type of margarine you use, but I would much rather take the safer, more inconvenient path, than the more convenient less safe path. 

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