Plant sterols alter bile acid metabolism and reduce cholesterol absorption in hamsters fed a beef-based diet

Timothy P. Carr, Roxana M. Cornelison, Blake J. Illston, Cindy L. Stuefer-Powell, Daniel D. Gallaher

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33 Scopus citations


This study examined the cholesterol-lowering properties of dietary plants sterols (PS) when consumed in a beef-based diet. Male Syrian hamsters were fed freeze-dried ground beef supplemented with maltodextrin, vegetable oil, vitamins, minerals, and soybean sterol esters at 0.0, 0.3, 1.0, or 3.0% sterol by weight of the diet. After 4 weeks, plasma and liver total cholesterol concentrations were significantly and incrementally reduced at all levels of dietary PS tested compared to no dietary PS. Cholesterol absorption was also significantly reduced by dietary PS, resulting in greater fecal excretion of neutral steroids. Total bile acid excretion was also significantly increased with PS feeding. A novel finding in the present study was that PS feeding caused an alteration in the gallbladder bile acid profile, resulting in a significantly lower hydrophobicity index. The present study demonstrates that the consumption of ground beef containing PS can significantly lower plasma cholesterol concentration at relatively low doses, indicating that ground beef can be used as a functional food to lower cholesterol while providing superior nutritional benefits over the high fat PS-containing margarines and salad dressings currently available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-754
Number of pages10
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Cynthia Gallaher for her expert technical assistance in measuring gallbladder bile acids. The research was supported by a grant from ConAgra Foods, Inc., and the Nebraska Agricultural Research Division (Journal Series No. 13,354).


  • Bile acids
  • Cholesterol absorption
  • Dietary beef
  • Hamsters
  • Plants sterols


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