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Sanitarium secures special approval for new product

Image - Weet-Bix Cholesterol LoweringSanitarium has invested heavily in bolstering its health credentials with its latest product launch, commissioning research that’s underscored cholesterol lowering properties in its new weet-bix.

The breakfast giant is expecting strong demand for the new range, available in Coles and Woolies from September, having gained Heart Foundation support and the ability to slap “reduces cholesterol by 9 per cent” on boxes.

The associated clinical trial was conducted by the University of South Australia in 2016 and involved 46 Aussie adults with high cholesterol.

Participants were divided into a a control and active group, whereby one ate two cholesterol lowering weet-bix and the other ate two normal ones each day for four weeks before swapping over for another month.

The researchers concluded that the plant sterols included in the new product decreased cholesterol, although the company didn’t say by how much. 40 other clinical studies done on those consuming 2 grams of plant sterols daily have concluded that the habit can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 9 per cent.

Sanitarium’s footnotes state that “2 grams of plant sterols daily lowers cholesterol by up to 9 per cent within 4 weeks as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat”.

The investment has, however, convinced regulator Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) to provide permission to Sanitarium to include two-grams of sterols in its product for up to a year, doubling the cap under normal regulations.

The Heart Foundation is on board, with another survey commissioned by Sanitarium and carried out by Galaxy on 1000 Aussies finding that 64 per cent of respondents don’t get their cholesterol checked as much as doctors recommend.

A further 43 per cent within that group aged 45 or above are classified as “high risk” for cholesterol issues.

“The latest Weet-Bix cereal is the most innovative cholesterol lowering product I’ve seen in 15 years – it’s easy, convenient and proven to work,” said Dr Peter Clifton, professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia and the research lead for the clinical trial.

“Breakfast is an essential part of every diet, so combining the cholesterol-lowering properties of plant sterols into a cereal product is a truly clever solution to one of the biggest health challenges we face in our busy, modern lives,” he said.

Sanitarium CEO Kevin Jackson said he’s “thrilled” with the launch.

“Weet-Bix has long been a nutritious breakfast staple for millions of Aussies every day and we are now taking it to another level. This new product makes it easier than ever before for Australians to take charge of their heart health,” Jackson said.

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