To address the ever-growing group of health-conscious consumers, more and more nutritional and health claims are being used on food products. Nevertheless, only very few food constituents, including plant sterols, have been appointed an approved health claim (European Commission and Food and Drugs Administration). Plant sterols are part of those limited lists of approved compounds for their cholesterol-lowering properties but have been praised for their anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties as well. Despite this indisputable reputation, direct quantitative data is still lacking for naturally present (conjugated) plant sterols in beverages. This study aimed to fill this gap by applying a validated extraction and UPLC-MS/MS detection method to a diverse range of everyday plant-based beverages. β-sitosterol-β-d
-glucoside (BSSG) showed to be by far the most abundant sterol in all beverages studied, with concentrations up to 60–90 mg per 100 mL in plant-based milk alternatives and fresh fruit juices. Ergosterol (provitamin D2
) could be found in beers (0.8–6.1 µg per 100 mL, from the yeast) and occasionally in juices (17–29 µg per 100 mL). Overall, the results demonstrated that the concentrations of water-soluble sterol conjugates have been underestimated significantly and that specific plant-based beverages can be good, low-fat sources of these plant sterols.
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