new-benecol-imageConsumer confidence in health claims in foods has been given a boost as the first European disease risk reduction claims have been authorised as part of the new Health Claims Regulation.  A disease risk reduction claim relating to plant stanol esters (the unique cholesterol lowering ingredient in the Benecol® range of foods) is amongst the first disease risk reduction claims to be authorised by the European Commission confirming that plant stanol esters ‘have been shown to lower blood cholesterol.  High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of Coronary Heart Disease’.

The announcement is a landmark in food regulation. It marks the first time a disease risk reduction claim has been authorised for foods. The disease risk reduction claims will help inform consumers in identifying foods which will be beneficial to them, and allows certain brands to make a disease risk reduction claim on their foods.

Esther van Onselen, Marketing Manager for Benecol®, says: “Approval of the disease risk reduction claim is a really exciting step in helping consumers make an informed choice about which foods are proven to have a positive impact on their health.  The announcement from the European Commission further validates the already well established role that plant stanol esters can play in cholesterol reduction. Not only does the authorisation confirm that plant stanol esters, the unique ingredient in Benecol’s range of cholesterol lowering foods, ‘have been shown to lower blood cholesterol’, it also acknowledges that ‘high cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of Coronary Heart Disease’.  There are over 50 independent clinical studies which prove the cholesterol lowering benefits of plant stanol esters.  Consumers can continue to have full confidence in Benecol’s proven cholesterol lowering benefit.”

Helen Bond, State Registered dietician, commented: “People concerned about cholesterol need to have access to reliable, evidence based claims that will help them make wise food choices.  In the UK, 2 out of 3 people have raised cholesterol. Dietary and lifestyle advice is always recommended as the first step for reducing cholesterol.  Obesity, diabetes, raised cholesterol and a lack of physical activity are major risk factors for coronary heart disease. Today’s introduction of disease risk reduction claims will help people find the foods that will make a real difference.”

High cholesterol is one of the main causes of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). CHD is the most common cause of death in the UK1.  CHD causes around 94,000 deaths a year in the UK1.

Benecol® is the only food range to contain plant stanol ester, a unique cholesterol lowering ingredient.  Plant stanol ester works with the body by partially blocking the entry of cholesterol into the bloodstream2.  Plant stanol ester, which is unique to Benecol®, lowers LDL cholesterol by 10% when used every day as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle3.

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