Coca-Cola is to launch a new cholesterol-reducing orange juice under its Minute Maid brand, it revealed today.
Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice contains plant sterols, plant chemicals that are believed to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol and have been clinically proven to help lower total and LDL cholesterol. Plant sterols have been sucessfully added to spreads and dairy products but this is the first orange juice to contain the health ingredient.
Nearly half of the US adult population has cholesterol at or above the 'borderline high' level of 200 mg/dL, while 42 million adults have 'high' levels of cholesterol (240 mg/dL or above), a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, making the new orange juice a strong contender on the functional foods market.
According to Coca-Cola, in a recent clinical study conducted at a major medical center, participants significantly lowered their LDL cholesterol by drinking two 8 fluid-ounce servings of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise orange juice daily with meals for eight weeks. It added that the benefits of Heart Wise were demonstrated in men and women with normal to borderline high total cholesterol.
The product fits with the current Minute Maid line, which includes orange juice with calcium plus vitamin D, low acid orange juice and orange juice with vitamins C, E and zinc.
To be launched in early November, the Heart Wise orange juice will come in a 64- ounce carton and will be sold at grocery stores and mass merchandisers nationwide at a price similar to Minute Maid Premium 64-ounce products.
The FDA supports a health claim stating that foods that contain at least 0.4 grams per serving of plant sterols, consumed twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 grams, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. An 8 fluid ounce serving of Minute Maid Premium Heart Wise contains 1.0 gram of plant sterols.