According to a new research, a daily dose of a soybean nutrient in ground beef can lower total cholesterol and the "bad", or LDL, cholesterol levels in young men. Functional foods are foods that have a health benefit beyond just supplying essential nutrients. There has been a trend of adding value to foods that we already eat to make us healthier. For example, Benecol Spread is a margarine that contains phytosterol to help lower cholesterol. Phytosterol is a plant-derived ingredient that has many positive effects on the body. Researchers from Iowa State University studied if phytosterol-supplemented ground beef would also help lower cholesterol levels in young men.
Rresearchers made thirty-four male college students participat in the four-week study. The men all had increases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. One group ate ground beef each day that contained phytosterols while a second group ate non-supplemented ground beef. Researchers recorded their cholesterol levels at the beginning and at the end of the four-week period.
The study finds phytosterol-supplemented ground beef lowers total cholesterol and LDL levels in men. Researchers feel this food has the potential to become a functional food to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Researchers conclude phytosterol-supplemented ground beef could be a good addition as a functional food for the public. Although they say the phytosterol-supplemented spreads on the market are good for cholesterol, they can add 10 to 25 grams of fat to a person's diet without providing other nutrients. Researchers finally observed that the supplemented lean ground beef used in the study has considerably less fat and is more nutritious than the phytosterol spreads presently procurable.