Plants do have cholesterol

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Cholesterol and Plants
E. J. Behrman and Venkat Gopalan
Department of Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1292


There is a widespread belief among the public and even among chemists that plants do not contain cholesterol.

This error is the result (in part) of the fact that plants generally contain only small quantities of cholesterol and that analytical methods for the detection of cholesterol in this range were not well developed until recently (1).

Another reason has to do with the legalities of food labeling that allow small quantities of cholesterol in foods to be called zero (2).

The fact is that cholesterol is widespread in the plant kingdom although other related sterols, such as β-sitosterol (henceforth referred to as sitosterol), generally occur in larger quantities.

snip …

Source                 Cholesterol/(mg/kg-1)    Reference
Palm oil                20                      14
Palm oil                16                      1
Palm kernel             17                      1
Coconut oil             14                      1
Cottonseed oil          45                      1
Soybean oil             29                      1
Corn oil                55                      1
Peanut oil              24                      1
Sunflower seed oil      14                      1
Canola oil              53                      1
Avocado oil             <30                     15
Olive oil               0.5–2                   16,17
Sesame oil              ca. 1                   16,17


According to FDA rules,
cholesterol quantities less than 2 mgserving may be labeled
as zero (19).

Before you back on the Atkins Diet notice that the units in the chart above are for milligrams per pound of oil. To put those figures into perspective a large egg has about 211 milligrams of cholesterol.

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