Exploring Benecol Alternatives: Can Supermarket Cholesterol Drinks Compete?

Recently updated on August 31st, 2023 at 10:15 am

If you’re conscious about maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, you’ve probably come across Benecol – a popular cholesterol-lowering drink that’s gained a lot of popularity over the years. But with the growing demand for healthier and more affordable options, many supermarkets have started offering their own versions of cholesterol-lowering drinks that are marketed as alternatives to Benecol.

So, how do these drinks stack up against the original? Well, that’s what we’ll explore in this blog post. We’ll be taking a closer look at these supermarket cholesterol drinks and comparing them with Benecol, to help you decide whether these alternatives are just as effective.

Table of Contents

Understanding Cholesterol-Lowering Drinks

First, let’s take a look at what these drinks actually do and how they work. Let’s start by explaining what cholesterol is.

What is Cholesterol and How Does it Affect Our Health?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for various bodily functions such as hormone production, cell membrane maintenance, and vitamin D synthesis. Our body produces cholesterol naturally, but it can also be found in certain foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.

However, having too much cholesterol, especially LDL (bad) cholesterol, can lead to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, HDL (good) cholesterol helps remove excess cholesterol from the body.

How Do Cholesterol-Lowering Drinks Work?

Cholesterol-lowering drinks work by using specific ingredients that can help reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body from food. The key active ingredients in these drinks are plant stanols and sterols, which are naturally occurring substances found in plants.

Plant stanols and sterols have a similar chemical structure to cholesterol, which allows them to compete with cholesterol for absorption in the intestines. By blocking the absorption of cholesterol, plant stanols and sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

Benecol Yogurt Drink - Blueberry flavour

Introducing Benecol Yogurt Drinks

Benecol is a brand that produces cholesterol-lowering yogurt drinks containing plant stanols. The drinks come in a variety of flavours and are marketed as a convenient way to lower cholesterol levels as part of a healthy diet. Plant stanols are the key active ingredients in Benecol drinks, which are formulated to be consumed daily to help reduce cholesterol levels.

Supermarket alternatives to Benecol

Supermarket versions of cholesterol-lowering drinks are more affordable than Benecol and can be found in most major supermarkets. Here’s a look at some of the most popular brands:

Tesco Cholesterol Lowering Drink

Tesco’s cholesterol-reducing drink is a popular alternative to Benecol, and it comes in a variety of different flavours. One example is the Tesco Cholesterol-Reducing Blueberry Drink.

Tesco cholesterol-lowering yogurt drink = Peach & Apricot flavour

The key active ingredient in Tesco’s drink is plant sterols, with one serving (100g) containing 2g of this cholesterol-lowering substance. Benecol Original Yogurt Drink, on the other hand, contains 2g of plant stanols per 67.5g serving. Both cholesterol-lowering substances are effective in reducing cholesterol, but plant stanols may be slightly more potent than sterols.

Both drinks contain the same sweetener – sucralose – and have almost the same amount of sugar per 100g, with Benecol containing a slightly higher amount. Additionally, there is added B1 vitamin in the Benecol drink, which is not found in Tesco’s drink. Per serving, the Benecol yogurt drink has fewer calories.

Overall, Tesco’s cholesterol-reducing drink provides the same amount of cholesterol-lowering active ingredient per serving as Benecol’s drink, but with a slightly different nutritional content.

Aldi’s Brooklea Cholesterol-Lowering Drink

Aldi offers its version of a cholesterol-lowering drink, which comes in different flavours, such as the Original and Strawberry yogurt drink. The product contains 2g of plant sterols per 100g and also includes added vitamin B1, just like the Benecol drink.

Aldi’s drink contains 3g of sugar per 100g, which is significantly less than the amount found in Benecol. Both Benecol and Aldi’s drinks have sucralose. Overall, Aldi’s drink is a viable alternative to Benecol, with similar active ingredients and lower sugar content.

Lidl Milbona Cholesterlow Cholesterol-Lowering Drink

Lidl also offers a cholesterol-lowering drink under their Milbona brand. The product is called Cholesterlow and is available in various flavours. You can find more information about the product on the Open Food Facts website.

Lidl's Milbona Cholesterlow cholesterol-lowering drink

Lidl’s cholesterol-lowering drink, Milbona Cholesterlow, contains 3.6% plant sterol esters per 100g serving which is equivalent to 2g of free plant sterols per bottle. This is the same amount of free plant sterols found in Tesco’s drink and compares to Benecol’s drink, which contains 2g of plant stanols per serving, but with a smaller serving size of 67.5g. Although these are different cholesterol-lowering compounds, they have similar effects.

Lidl’s cholesterol-lowering drink – ingredients & nutrition

Lidl’s yogurt drink also contains sucralose but has less sugar than Benecol with 2.4g per 100g (Benecol’s Original Yogurt drink has 4.3 g of sugar per 100g or 2.9g per 67.5g serving).

Given its comparable active ingredients and lower sugar content, Lidl’s Milbona Cholesterlow can be considered as good as, if not better than, Benecol’s cholesterol-lowering drink.

Asda Cholesterol-Lowering Drink

Asda offers a range of cholesterol-lowering drinks with different flavours, including peach & apricot and strawberry.

Each 100g bottle of Asda’s drink contains 3.4% of Plant Sterol Ester which is equivalent to 2% Free Plant Sterols or 2g of free plant sterols per 100g bottle. This is exactly the same as Tesco’s drink, but it has lower sugar content with 3.7g per 100g (compared to 4.1g in Tesco’s drink).

Just like other supermarkets’ cholesterol-lowering drinks, Asda’s drink also contains artificial sweetener sucralose.

Overall, Asda’s cholesterol-lowering drink provides the same amount of active ingredient as Tesco’s drink with a slightly lower sugar content.

Given that it contains a comparable amount of active cholesterol-lowering ingredients, it stands as a good alternative not just to Tesco’s offering but also to Benecol’s drink. It’s a viable option for those looking to lower their cholesterol levels.

Are supermarket cholesterol drinks as good as Benecol?

The main difference between Benecol and cholesterol-lowering drinks from various supermarkets is the type of compound used to lower cholesterol levels. Benecol uses plant stanols, while most supermarkets use plant sterols.

Supermarkets typically use a similar amount of plant sterols, with around 2g per serving in a 100g bottle. In contrast, Benecol’s smaller 67.5g bottle contains 2g of plant stanols.

Both plant sterols and stanols have been demonstrated to effectively lower harmful cholesterol levels. Therefore, in terms of cholesterol reduction, supermarket cholesterol drinks are as good as Benecol. That includes Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and Asda.

However, there are some variations in sugar and calorie levels among different supermarket drinks and Benecol. For example, Asda’s cholesterol-lowering drink contains 3.7g of sugar per 100g, which is lower than the 4.3g per 100g found in Benecol.

Another example is Lidl’s Cholesterlow drink, which has 2.4g of sugar per 100g compared to Benecol’s 4.3g per 100g.

Final thoughts

Cholesterol-lowering drinks from various supermarkets are just as effective as Benecol in lowering cholesterol levels. In terms of the active ingredient, all supermarket drinks contain plant sterols, while Benecol contains plant stanols.

There are variations in sugar content between different brands, so it’s important to read the nutritional label on the back of the product before making a purchase.

It’s also important to consider calorie content, as some cholesterol drinks can be high in calories. By considering all these factors, you should have no problem finding the right cholesterol drink for your needs.