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Estimation of plant sterol and cholesterol intake in Finland: quality of new values and their effect on intake

  • L. M. Valsta (a1), A. Lemström (a2), M.-L. Ovaskainen (a1), A.-M. Lampi (a2), J. Toivo (a2), T. Korhonen (a1) (a2) and V. Piironen (a2)...


The Finnish national food composition database Fineli® was updated with recent analytical values for plant sterols (PS) (sitosterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, avenasterol, brassicasterols and stanols) and cholesterol. The quality of the new analytical data was assessed. The aims of the present study were: (1) to compare the effect of old and new database values on PS and cholesterol intakes based on average per capita food consumption data; (2) to estimate the current intake and major sources of these compounds in various population groups according to the national FINDIET 1997 survey data. The intake of total PS was 305 mg/d for men and 237 mg/d for women. The respective intakes for cholesterol were 284 mg/d and 201 mg/d. Women had a higher density of PS in their diets than men, whereas the cholesterol density in the diets did not differ between genders. Cereals, margarine, vegetables and vegetable oils were the main food sources of PS. Meat, meat products and eggs were the main sources of cholesterol. A 9 % greater PS intake estimate was obtained with the new PS database compared with the old PS database, probably due to minor methodological differences between the new and old analyses. Notable changes in analytical methods suggest a lower value (−19 %) for cholesterol intake calculated from the new database compared with the old one. We conclude that researchers can have confidence in the new values for PS and cholesterol, because systematic evaluation of the new analytical values showed them to be of high quality.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr Liisa Valsta, fax +358 9 47 44 85 91, email


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