I’m keynoting the workship on Food, Ethics, Politics at 4:00 with a reception to follow. My talk, “”Food, Ethics, Politics: The View from 2022,” will be in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Maeder Hall, Room 002. This event is part of the University Center for Human Values (UCHV) Conferences, Workshops & Special Events. To register to attend, click here.
Industry-funded study of the week: Unilever
A low-fat spread with added plant sterols and fish omega-3 fatty acids lowers serum triglyceride and LDL-cholesterol concentrations in individuals with modest hypercholesterolaemia and hypertriglyceridaemia. Blom AM, et al. European Journal of Nutrition. 2019;58(4):1615–1624.
Purpose: “to investigate the triglyceride (TG) and LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C) lowering effects of a spread [i.e., margarine] with added plant sterols (PS) and fish oil as compared to a placebo spread.”
Conclusions: “Four-week consumption of the intervention spread led to significant and clinically relevant decreases in serum TG, LDL-C and other blood lipid concentrations.”
Funder: The study was funded by Unilever BCS Research and Development Vlaardingen, the Netherlands.
Conflicts of interest: of the authors, four are employed by Unilever.
Comment: Unilever makes margarines with plant sterols and fish oils. You might buy them if they control blood lipid risk factors for heart disease. This is in-house company research aimed at proving the benefits of a Unilever product, which is what so many other companies do.
But Unilever was one of the few Big Food companies that sponsored basic research (and maybe it still does?). As I describe in my book, Unsavory Truth, Unilever was the sponsor of the basic research that demonstrated the harmful effects of trans-fat on disease risk.