“Proven to Lower Cholesterol” is a mighty strong claim. But Corazonas, a brand built around heart health, places this health claim front and center.
How can one product, such as this oatmeal square, help to reduce cholesterol?
What you need to know:
According to Corazonas’s website (and NOT on the product package) the cholesterol reducing claim is approved by the FDA:
OK – so you need to eat well all around for this cholesterol lowering effect to kick in. But what about the 2.5 teaspoons of added sugar (second and third ingredients in the list below). Do they contribute to heart health?
Here is the ingredient list:
Whole rolled oats, brown rice syrup, cane syrup, date puree, peanuts, expeller pressed sunflower oil, maltodextrin, peanut butter (peanuts, salt), plum puree, whey protein isolate, vegetable glycerin, peanut flour, oat flour, plant sterols, natural flavors, calcium carbonate, salt, sot lecithin, baking soda. Vitamin blend: (vitamin c [ascorbic acid], vitamin e [d-alpha tocopheryl acetate], vitamin a [palmitate], niacinamide, maltodextrin, d-calcium pantothenate, vitamin d3, pyridoxine HCL, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, vitamin b12, folic acid). Contains peanut, soy, milk.
Note the plant sterols or phytosterols. These are naturally found in plant oils. In studies where the phytosterols were extracted from plants and turned into supplements, they have been shown to reduce cholesterol absorption in the intestines. But other studies showed opposite effects.
As with all compounds found in nature, science still does not have a full grasp on all the interactions between various chemicals in a whole food as compared to a single vitamin or mineral. That’s why you should be very wary of claims that a single nutrient found in a processed food product can do wonders for you. Your best bet is to get your sterols from real food – fruit and vegetables.
Bars such as this, which are a collection of sugar ingredients, protein isolates, and a sprinkling of vitamin blend are the exact opposite of what you need. And yet, this Corazonas is still one of the better bars out there, because it does not use partially hydrogenated oils, and includes peanuts and dates.
What to do at the supermarket:
When choosing bars, remember that they are closer to snack bar than health food. Choose bars made with real fruit and nuts, and short ingredient lists.