02.The cost of cutting cholesterol
We visited three Coles and three Woolworths supermarkets in both Melbourne and Sydney and surveyed the prices of 13 common sterol-enriched products. We also compared the prices of equivalent non-sterol-enriched products where they existed. Some of these products aren’t cheap.
- A litre of DEVONDALE Reduce sterol-enriched milk is more than one-and-a-half times the price of a litre of regular DEVONDALE full-cream milk, for example.
- FLORA Pro-Activ spreads are all almost three times as expensive as their regular equivalents in the FLORA range.
You’ll pay three times the price for a 500 g tub of WOOLWORTHS SELECT Pro-Col Light spread as for the same-size tub of regular WOOLWORTHS SELECT Canola Spread.
- The mark-up on YOPLAIT HeartActive yoghurt compared with YOPLAIT Original, on the other hand, is minimal — around 4%.
- All the sterol-enriched products we surveyed contain the same amount of plant sterols (0.8 g) in a standard serve. But the table below shows which one will have the least impact on your wallet.
|Brand / product
||Cost per standard serve ($)|
|Nuttelex Pulse spread
|Woolworths Select Pro-Col Light spread
|Logicol Original spread
|Logicol Plus Vitamins spread
|Logicol Extra Light spread
|Flora Pro-Activ spread
|Flora Pro-Activ Light spread
|Flora Pro-Activ Ultra Light spread
|Flora Pro-Activ with Olive Oil spread
|Devondale Reduce milk
|Pura HeartActive milk
|Yoplait HeartActive yoghurt
(A) The cost of two 5 g serves. Nuttelex Pulse suggests a serve of 5 g (which contains 0.4 g plant sterols) — half the recommended amount of the other spreads — so we’ve doubled this for ease of comparison.
Product prices compared
- Overall, spreads are the cheapest and yoghurts the most expensive way to get an equivalent amount of plant sterols.
- At just 12 cents a standard serve, NUTTELEX Pulse is the best value for money, albeit marginally.
- LOGICOL yoghurt at $2 a serve, on the other hand, is 16 times more expensive.
- But if you don’t have to worry about the cost and you don’t normally use spreads or don’t eat a lot of bread, but pour milk on your cereal and eat a tub of yoghurt every day, you might as well buy the more expensive sterol-enriched milk and yoghurt that you’ll be sure to eat enough of.
Even though sterol-enriched products are effective at helping to control cholesterol levels, high blood cholesterol needs to be managed under medical supervision. And to reduce your overall risk of heart disease it’s still vital that you eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat and high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, that you stop smoking and increase your activity. If your blood cholesterol levels are normal, there’s little advantage in eating these products — it’ll just cost you money for not very much.