Dangers of Benecol – 3 Reasons to avoid

The dangers of benecol are a very less researched factor. In this article, we will discuss what is benecol, what are its ingredients, and its side effects.

plant sterols and plant stanols
Fig1: Benecol product

What is Benecol?

Benecol is a Finnish firm, Raisino group,  a brand of cholesterol-lowering food products. The Raisio Group owns the Benecol brand and offers the stanol ester component to food producers all over the world. Local food firms such as Kaiku in Spain, Colanta in Colombia, Lotte in South Korea, Kalbe Nutritionals in Indonesia, and Johnson & Johnson in the United States have licensed the trademark in more than 30 countries.

Benecol is smooth and creamy margarine that is spreadable and claims to lower cholesterol when used two to three times per day. It works by utilizing phytostanol esters, which can be found in pine trees, soy, and other plants.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the claim that consuming 1.4 grams of phytostanol esters daily will reduce blood cholesterol levels by blocking dietary cholesterol absorption. While short-term research has proved Benecol to be safe, no long-term studies have been done since this is a relatively new product.

Not scientifically proved but it is even said that benecol should be taken every day not all by itself but along with some food to get the best result. So it is advised to take benecol in long term.

Dangers of benecol
Fig2: Cholesterol level and atherosclerosis

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The Truth of Benecol

Whole grains and cereals include phytostanol, a natural chemical. Plant levels, on the other hand, are typically too low to provide significant health advantages.

Raisio has created margarine with the most beneficial nutritional profile of any margarine on the market, which includes Benecol. New Benecol products with lower amounts of unsaturated fatty acids mixed with higher levels of beneficial unsaturated fatty acids are expected to improve these qualities in the future.

But a question arises here are plant sterols dangerous?  The answer is it is generally safe for most healthy people. Side effects include vomiting nausea diarrhea etc. People with sitosterolemia Should avoid high plant stanols because they may cause early atherosclerosis

Fig3: Plant are the sources of benecol products

Ingredients of Benecol

Benecol comprises partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Although the phytostanol esters may counteract the negative effects, many nutrition experts advise against taking any trans fats, especially those found in processed foods like margarine

Dangers of Benecol

Soybean Oil that Has Been Partially Hydrogenated

Trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, are the worst form of fats, according to the Mayo Clinic, since they raise bad (LDL) cholesterol while lowering good (HDL) cholesterol. This increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in both men and women.

Benecol comprises partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Although the phytostanol esters may counteract the negative effects, many nutrition experts advise against taking any trans fats, especially those found in processed foods like margarine.

Mayo Clinic has even described Trans fats which are also known as partially hydrogenated oils, are the worst form of fats, since they elevate cholesterol levels. Since benecol consists of transfat benecol is harmful in some ways.

Reduction in Vitamin A /B Carotene

A drop in beta carotene levels of 10 to 20% has also been reported as a side effect of Benecol. Vitamin A, which is converted from beta carotene in the body, is a vital nutrient that protects against cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other health problems.


Benecol is found to be causing stomach problems. Benecol is responsible for great Gastrointestinal discomfort causing diarrhea

Can Benecol Actually Reduce Cholesterol?

Benecol is a plant-based sterol supplement that lowers cholesterol, LDL, and other harmful types. It acts against hypercholesterolemia by lowering cholesterol efficiency in about three weeks. These plant sterols are found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, making them an excellent treatment for hypercholesterolemia.

Plant sterols inhibit cholesterol absorption by the body by 75 percent. This boosts the production of the apolipoprotein HDL, which aids in the absorption of healthy cholesterol. Benecol includes 1.6 grams of sterols each unit, which lowers cholesterol levels in three weeks.

Dangers of benecol
Fig3: Do benecol actually work?


In adults, plant sterols can be prescribed in doses of 1.6-3 grams orally for up to 1 year. In children, plant sterols a dose of 1.6-2.3 grams orally daily for  6 months is recommended. It can be taken any time of the day but is best with the meals.

Note: Please speak with a health care provider to decide the dosage. It is not recommended to take the plant sterols without any guidance.

What’s the connection between Plant stanols and cholesterol?

Plant stanols are known as the “cholesterol” of the plant world because they are formed up similarly to cholesterol and perform comparable roles in plant cells as cholesterol does in our bodies. The benefits obtained by including plant stanols in our diet are due to this structural similarity.

Is there anyone who should avoid plant stanol-containing products?

Children under the age of five, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women, should not use Benecol unless they have been advised by a doctor or other health professional. This is since cholesterol is required for appropriate growth.

Do Benecol Products have any medication interactions?

There is no confirmation that the plant stanol esters in Benecol conflict with any drugs in clinical trials. There were no medication interactions observed in clinical research on plant stanol esters. There have been no medication interactions documented in the medical literature yet.

Are Benecol Products suitable for diabetic patients?

Yes. Plant stanol esters are beneficial in preventing cholesterol absorption in people with diabetes in studies. People with diabetes should consult the packaging for nutrition facts on Benecol Products, or consult a healthcare practitioner for advice on how to integrate Benecol products into a regular diet.

Do stanol esters from plants build up in the body?

No, they’re separated into stanol and fatty acid components first. Plant stanols are absorbed in little amounts and eliminated. Like other dietary fats, the fatty acid component is digested and metabolized.

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