Cholesterol-free yogurt with stanol

Oh how life has changed. In the old days, people worked secretly in tunnels to discover the fountain of youth.  Today, in gleaming laboratories, there are scientists with white jackets.  They are not looking for the fountain of youth; they are on the trail of products to give us a longer, better quality life.

These scientists are found at food companies…  As the quality of human life improves, people want to live longer healthier lives.  To meet this need, food companies are beginning to manufacture functional foods that have ingredients to promote well-being. Budget allotments set aside for these products are increasing. Apart from nutritional considerations, recently more attention has been given to functional foods that are good for people’s health. Some of these products strengthen the immune system, regulate the digestive system or control cholesterol. Recently a number of functional foods that are beneficial for your heart have been introduced in the form of yoghurt, milk and margarine that contain vegetable-derived stanols. Ülker has invested 15 million TL in Kalbim Benecol brand products which contain the heart-friendly benecol (patented as stanol) ingredient.

People want to live longer

Ülker Oils and Culinary Group Marketing Director Verda Duysak answered our query about the ingredients in the functional foods that are drawing the market’s attention: “Humans want to live longer. That is the reason that especially heart-healthy products are being sold. Kalbim Benecol products prevent the absorption of cholesterol by the digestive system and a corresponding drop in cholesterol levels.  Using these products regularly for 15 days will aid in reducing your cholesterol levels by an average of 15%.  A 10% reduction in cholesterol reduces the risk of heart attack by 50%.”
As you are aware, high serum cholesterol is the number one cause of early heart attacks.
Verda Duysak responded to our questions.

How can Kalbim Benecol protect my heart?

In Turkey, about 20% of heart attacks occur in people under the age of 50.  As well as knowing their height and weight, people should know their cholesterol level.  Unfortunately when we do learn what it is, it is usually in the hospital emergency room.  Benecol is a food additive that is effective for reducing serum cholesterol. Scientific research has shown that a daily intake of 2 grams of vegetable stanol is enough to reduce cholesterol levels. Stanols prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the digestive system. It is effective in reducing both good and bad cholesterol levels.  The cholesterol-reducing effects of benecol have been certified by the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Heart Association (AHA). The product has been in use throughout the world for the past 12 years.

Who buys these products the most?

As you know, men suffer more heart attacks than women. However many women are Kalbim Benim consumers. Kalbim Benecol products include yoghurt, milk, yoghurt drinks and margarine. Except for yoghurt drinks, women consume 65% or more of the remaining three categories. The consumption of yoghurt drinks is about equal for men and women.

How many days do you have to use it?

People who use Kalbim Benecol products for a two week period have experienced an average 15% reduction in their cholesterol levels.  This has been confirmed in more than 50 clinical studies.  The vegetable stanols in Kalbim Benim products are helpful in reducing and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels if consumed regularly.  A 10% decrease in cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 50%.  Unfortunately, if a person stops eating these types of products or if is not careful about his diet, cholesterol levels may return to their former high levels.

Does this product create a risk for people who take medication to lower their cholesterol?

Clinical studies show that the use of statin along with benecol can be very effective. It is recommended that patients with high cholesterol must first of all examine their lifestyle. This means, does the person exercise, is he careful to eat a balanced diet, etc….  If cholesterol remains high despite all of these precautions, it has been recommended that regular consumption of products that contain stanol may be beneficial.  If cholesterol levels still don’t fall to the desired level, it may be necessary to continue medication under a doctor’s supervision.

Are there any side effects?

Stanol is not absorbed by the body. Since it isn’t absorbed it doesn’t enter the bloodstream. In studies carried out over 15 years, no side effects have been encountered.

What functional foods are you working on besides products that can reduce cholesterol? For example, is there a chance you may manufacture foods to make people more intelligent?

We are working on that very issue with the world’s best R&D Company, Rasio.  Cholesterol is, of course, a very popular subject, but functional foods in the weight control and weight loss categories have also begun to be developed.  As you know, people gain weight because of a poor diet, and functional food may be a way to control that. As for increasing intelligence, we are studying Omega-3. This aspect is especially important for children.  

Is stanol only found in milk products that the group produces or can it be obtained from other sources?

Vegetable stanol is found in foods such as apples and carrots. There are also trace amounts in wheat and corn-based foods.  The problem is that you would have to eat 150 apples or 200 carrots to get 2 grams of stanol. A bowl of Kalbim Benecol yoghurt, two glasses of milk or 30 grams of margarine contain the recommended daily amount of 2 grams.  

Why did you choose Rıdvan Dilmen and Nükhet Durufor your TV commercials?

Rıdvan has been a sports figure for many years; he doesn’t have a weight problem.  As for Nükhet, she is an artist who takes care of her health. In spite of their lifestyles, both of them had very high levels of serum cholesterol.  Nükhet Duru’s doctor recommended that she eat products containing benecol.  When we contacted Nükhet Duru, she was using our products and had just completed a 15 day regime. Both of them used Kalbim Benecol and both reduced their cholesterol levels.  We wanted to use the commercials to tell people, even those who don’t seem likely to have high cholesterol that they must get their cholesterol checked.