Cholesterol-lowering spreads contain plant extracts–either stanol or sterol esters–that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol. They both work about the same. In people with high cholesterol, two to three tablespoons a day can cut LDL cholesterol by about 15 percent. (Eating more than this amount does not lower cholesterol more.) Choose tub spreads rather than sticks, which have more saturated fat. To work, the spread must be eaten with meals.