BRUSSELS, 11 November 2015 – It is with great pride that we announce the launch of the International Plant Sterols and Stanols Association (IPSSA – , comprised of the leading international companies in plant sterols and stanols. The IPSSA members have decided to work together to educate the public about the benefits of integrating plant sterols and stanols in the daily diet. We also aim to foster the idea of healthy diet and lifestyle choices as effective means of reducing blood LDL-cholesterol – a major risk factor for heart disease.

We at IPSSA are convinced that we can actively contribute to the public health agenda by raising awareness with policymakers and consumers.

We believe that a healthy diet and an active lifestyle can prevent high blood LDL-cholesterol which is one of the main factors in development of heart disease. It has been scientifically proven by numerous academic studies that a daily consumption of foods and food supplements with 1.5 – 3.0g of added plant sterols or stanols can lower blood LDL-cholesterol by 7-12.5% in 2-3 weeks as part of the daily diet.

Consuming, therefore, foods with added plant sterols or stanols is an effective way to contribute to the lowering of blood LDL-cholesterol. One effective way to do so is, for example, by switching the usual spreads (such as butter or margarine) or yoghurt for the spreads or yoghurt with added plant sterols and stanols.

“Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is an important priority in the EU public health agenda. We support that a healthy lifestyle and nutrition aiming at effective LDL-cholesterol lowering are key factors in the reduction of overall risk for heart disease, Geert van Poppel, Chairman of IPSSA comments. “IPSSA intends to contribute to the public debate by introducing facts about plant sterols and stanols. These come from scientific research and will help us inform and educate the public about the need to keep their LDL-cholesterol levels low and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. We also aim to convey to policymakers the message that reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease is an important component of efficient long-term public health policy and sustainable development”, Geert Van Poppel concludes.



What are plant sterols and stanols?

Plant sterols and stanols are substances that are abundant in nature, generally found in plant based foods such as vegetable oils, grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Their cholesterol-lowering properties have been known since the 1950s. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found naturally in the blood and it is essential for normal body function. It is mainly produced in the body and is transported around the blood in ‘vehicles’ called lipoproteins.

The two main types of lipoproteins are LDL and HDL with LDL-cholesterol having been proven as the type of cholesterol that in too high levels can slowly build up in the arteries, making them narrower. Therefore, too high levels of LDL-cholesterol increase significantly the risk of heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease – Some key facts:

Some facts about cardiovascular (heart) diseases according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from cardiovascular diseases than from any other cause[1]
  • An estimated 17.5 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2012, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke[2]
  • 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. Healthy diet, regular physical activity, and not using tobacco products are the keys to prevention. Checking and controlling risk factors for heart disease and stroke such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar or diabetes is also very important[3]
  • Raised cholesterol increases the risks of heart disease and stroke. Globally, a third of ischemic heart disease is attributable to high cholesterol. Overall, raised cholesterol is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths (4.5% of total) and 29.7 million disability adjusted life years (DALYs), or 2.0% of total DALYs[4]

Currently, IPSSA is comprised of the following companies: Arboris, BASF, Cargill, Danone, Raisio, and Unilever.

For more information, please contact:

Konstantinos Maragkakis

Communication Manager and Spokesperson

+32 472 280 742 (Mobile)



[2] Ibid