If you’re conscious of maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, you’ve probably come across Benecol, a popular cholesterol-lowering drink that has grown in popularity over the years. But with the growing demand for healthier and more affordable options, many supermarkets have started offering their own versions of cholesterol-lowering drinks, marketed as alternatives to Benecol.
So how do these drinks stack up against the original? Well, that’s what we’ll explore in this blog post. We’ll take a closer look at these supermarket cholesterol drinks and compare them to Benecol to help you decide if these alternatives are just as effective.
Understanding Cholesterol Lowering Drinks
First, let’s look at what these drinks actually do and how they work. Let’s start by explaining what cholesterol is.
What is cholesterol and how does it affect our health?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is needed for various body functions, such as hormone production, maintenance of cell membranes, and vitamin D synthesis. Our bodies produce cholesterol naturally, but it can also be found in certain foods, such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.
However, too much cholesterol, especially LDL (bad) cholesterol, can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, HDL (good) cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the body.
How do cholesterol-lowering drinks work?
Cholesterol-lowering drinks work by using special ingredients that can help reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs from food. The main active ingredients in these drinks are plant stanols and sterols, which are natural substances found in plants.
Plant stanols and sterols are similar in chemical structure to cholesterol, which allows them to compete with cholesterol for absorption in the gut. By blocking the absorption of cholesterol, plant stanols and sterols can help lower LDL cholesterol levels in the body.
Introducing Benecol Yogurt Drinks
Benecol is a brand of cholesterol-lowering yogurt drinks that contain plant stanols. The drinks come in a variety of flavors and are marketed as a convenient way to lower cholesterol as part of a healthy diet. Plant stanols are the main active ingredients in Benecol drinks, designed to be taken daily to help lower cholesterol levels.
Supermarket alternatives to Benecol
Supermarket versions of cholesterol-lowering drinks are more affordable than Benecol and can be found in major supermarkets. Here are some of the most popular brands.
Tesco Cholesterol Lowering Drink
Tesco’s Cholesterol Lowering Drink is a popular alternative to Benecol and comes in a range of flavours. One example is Tesco Cholesterol Lowering Blueberry Drink.
The main active ingredient in Tesco’s drink is plant sterols, with one serving (100g) containing 2g of this cholesterol-lowering substance. Benecol Original Yogurt Drink, on the other hand, contains 2g of plant stanol per 67.5g serving. Both cholesterol-lowering agents are effective at lowering cholesterol, but plant stanols may be slightly more potent than sterols.
Both drinks contain the same sweetener, sucralose, and have almost the same amount of sugar per 100g, with Benecol containing slightly more. In addition, Benecol drink contains vitamin B1 which is not found in Tesco drink. Benecol Yogurt Drink contains fewer calories per serving.
Overall, Tesco’s cholesterol-lowering drink provides the same amount of cholesterol-lowering active ingredient as Benecol’s drink, but with slightly different nutritional content.
Aldi’s Brooklea Cholesterol Lowering Drink
Aldi offers its own version of the cholesterol-lowering drink, which comes in a variety of flavors, such as Original and Strawberry Yogurt. The product contains 2g of plant sterol per 100g and also contains added vitamin B1 like Benecol drink.
Aldi’s drink contains 3g of sugar per 100g, significantly less than the amount found in Benecol. Both Benecol and Aldi drinks contain sucralose. Overall, Aldi’s drink is a viable alternative to Benecol, with similar active ingredients and lower sugar content.
Lidl Milbona cholesterol lowering drink
Lidl also offers a cholesterol-lowering drink under their Milbona brand. The product is called Cholesterlow and is available in different flavors. More product information can be found on the Open Food Facts website.
Lidl’s cholesterol-lowering drink, Milbona Cholesterlow, contains 3.6% plant sterol ester per 100g serving, equivalent to 2g of free plant sterol per bottle. This is the same amount of free plant sterols found in Tesco’s drink, compared to Benecol’s drink, which contains 2g of plant stenols per serving, but with a smaller dose of 67.5g. Although these are different cholesterol-lowering compounds, they have similar effects.
Lidl’s yoghurt drink also contains sucralose but has less sugar than Benecol at 2.4g per 100g (Benecol’s Original Yogurt drink has 4.3g of sugar per 100g or 2.9g per 67.5 g serving).
Asda Cholesterol Lowering Drink
Asda offers a range of cholesterol-lowering drinks in different flavours, including peach and apricot and strawberry.
Each 100g bottle of Asda’s drink contains 3.4% Plant Sterol Ester, equivalent to 2% free plant sterol or 2g free plant sterol per 100g bottle. This is exactly the same as the Tesco drink, but it has a lower sugar content of 3.7g per 100g (compared to 4.1g for the Tesco drink).
Like other supermarket cholesterol-lowering drinks, Asda’s also contains the artificial sweetener sucralose.
Overall, Asda’s cholesterol-lowering drink provides the same amount of active ingredient as Tesco’s drink, with slightly less sugar. It is a viable alternative for those looking to lower their cholesterol levels.
Are supermarket cholesterol drinks as good as Benecol?
The main difference between Benecol and various supermarket cholesterol-lowering drinks is the type of compounds used to lower cholesterol levels. Benecol uses plant stanols, while most supermarkets use plant sterols.
Supermarkets typically use similar amounts of plant sterols, about 2g per serving in a 100g bottle. In contrast, the smaller 67.5g bottle of Benecol contains 2g of plant stanols. Both plant sterols and stanols have been shown to effectively lower bad cholesterol levels. So in terms of lowering cholesterol, supermarket cholesterol drinks are just as good as Benecol. That includes Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Asda.
However, there is some variation in sugar and calorie levels between different supermarket drinks and Benecol. For example, Asda’s cholesterol-lowering drink contains 3.7g of sugar per 100g, which is lower than the 4.3g per 100g found in Benecol. Another example is Lidl’s Cholesterlow drink, which contains 2.4g of sugar per 100g compared to Benecol’s 4.3g per 100g.
Cholesterol-lowering drinks from various supermarkets are as effective as Benecol in lowering cholesterol. In terms of active ingredient, all supermarket drinks contain plant sterols, while Benecol contains plant stanols.
There are variations in sugar content between different brands, so it’s important to read the nutrition label on the back of the product before making a purchase.
It’s also important to consider the calorie count, as some cholesterol drinks can be high in calories. With all these factors in mind, you should have no problem finding a cholesterol drink to suit your needs.