Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Phytosterol-enriched products on the Irish market: examination of intake and consumption patterns

Áine Heartya1 c1, Edel Duffya1, Jennifer Joycea1, Caitriona O’Connora1 and Michael J Gibneya1

a1 Institute of Food and Health, Room 3.02C, UCD Agriculture and Food Science Centre, School of Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland


Objective To study patterns of phytosterol intakes in the Irish population from enriched sources.

Design An interview-assisted questionnaire, which recorded information on sociodemographics, product types, intake amounts and patterns of intake. Independent samples t tests, one-way ANOVA and cross-tabulations were used to establish significant relationships between groups of variables. The top tertile of phytosterol intakes was also calculated.

Setting Point-of-purchase of phytosterol-enriched products in Irish supermarkets.

Subjects Four hundred and sixty-eight consumers (186 men and 282 women) of phytosterol-enriched foods.

Results The mean phytosterol intake from enriched sources for the sample population was 2·45 g/d. Men had greater intakes than women (2·71 g/d v. 2·29 g/d, respectively). A total of 62 % of consumers were unaware of the importance of consuming fruit and vegetables while taking these products. The majority of respondents reported that they had high cholesterol (61 %) and 22 % of consumers also took cholesterol-lowering medication (statins). In total, 23 % had phytosterol intakes >3·0 g/d and the majority of consumers (58 %) had been consuming these products for >1 year. The mean intake for respondents with phytosterol intakes >3·0 g/d was 4·1 g/d and 74 % of this subgroup had been consuming these products for >1 year.

Conclusion In general, phytosterol intakes are within efficacious levels in the Irish population. However, there appears to be a subgroup that has been consuming these products at intakes greater than current recommendations for >1 year.

(Received March 08 2007)

(Accepted December 19 2007)


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