Oat cereals rich in the water-soluble fiber β-glucan have been studied as a dietary therapy for hypercholesterolemia. To determine the hypocholesterolemic response of β-glucan in the diet, 156 adults with low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels above 4.14 mmol/L (160 mg/dL) or between 3.37 and 4.14 mmol/L (130 and 160 mg/dL) with multiple risk factors were randomized to one of seven groups. Six groups received either oatmeal or oat bran at doses (dry weight) of 28 g (1 oz), 56 g (2 oz), and 84 g (3 oz). A seventh group received 28 g of farina (β-glucan control). At week 6 of treatment, significant differences were found for both total cholesterol and LDL-C levels among the farina control and the treatment groups who were receiving 84 g of oatmeal, 56 g of oat bran, and 84 g of oat bran, with decreases in LDL-C levels of 10.1%, 15.9%, and 11.5%, respectively. Fifty-six grams of oat bran resulted in significantly greater reductions in LDL-C levels than 56 g of oatmeal. Nutrient analysis shows no difference in dietary fat content between these treatment groups; therefore, the higher β-glucan content of oat bran most likely explains the significantly greater LDL-C reductions. A dose-dependent reduction in LDL-C levels with oat cereals supports the independent hypocholesterolemic effects of β-glucan.
Davidson MH, Dugan LD, Burns JH, Bova J, Story K, Drennan KB. The Hypocholesterolemic Effects of β-Glucan in Oatmeal and Oat Bran: A Dose-Controlled Study. JAMA. 1991;265(14):1833–1839. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460140061027
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