Plant sterols and stanols are natural substances found in small amounts in certain plant foods. A daily dose of 2 grams of sterols/stanols has been shown to significantly reduce LDL cholesterol. Because it’s impossible to consume that amount from food alone, you may want to consider taking a supplement. While there are margarine spreads on the market with added sterols/stanols, you can skirt the extra calories by taking these compounds in pill form. Read the package directions carefully; you typically have to take them prior to meals in two separate, daily doses. If you are taking a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication, talk with your doctor before taking sterol/stanol supplements.