Plant sterols (PS) in foods are subject to thermal oxidation to form PS oxidation products (POP). This study measured POP contents of 19 foods prepared by typical household baking and cooking methods using margarines without (control) and with 7.5% added PS (as 12.5% PS-esters, PS-margarine). Median POP contents per portion size of cooked foods were 0.57 mg (range 0.05-1.11 mg) with control margarine versus 1.42 mg (range 0.08-20.5 mg) with PS-margarine. The oxidation rate of PS (ORP) was 0.50% (median) with the PS-margarine and 3.66% with the control margarine. Using the PS-margarine, microwave-cooked codfish had the lowest POP content, with 0.08 mg per portion, while shallow-fried potatoes had the highest POP content, 20.5 mg per portion. Median POP contents in cookies, muffins, banana bread, and sponge cake baked with the control or PS-margarine were 0.12 mg (range 0.11-0.21 mg) and 0.24 mg (range 0.19-0.60 mg) per portion, with a corresponding ORP of 1.38% and 0.06%, respectively. POP contents in all the cooked and baked foods did not exceed 20.5 mg per typical portion size. A wide variation in the distribution of individual POP among different foods existed, with 7-keto-PS and 5,6-epoxy-PS being the major oxidation products.
Keywords: baking; cooking; foods; frying; margarine; oxidation; phytosterols; plant sterol oxidation products; plant sterols.