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November 18, 1992

Oat Products: Lowering of Lipids, Education of Public

JAMA. 1992;268(19):2649. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490190049020

To the Editor.  —Ripsin et al1 are to be complimented for their thorough evaluation of experimental data concerning the beneficial effects of oat bran and other oat-containing foods on serum cholesterol levels. However, it is unfortunate that their exhaustive analysis did not receive the same media blitz accompanying the 1990 article by Swain et al,2 which impugned the health benefits of oat bran.As has been previously pointed out by Connor,3 humans and their prehominid ancestors ate high-fiber diets for millions of years. Yet, the recent development of the "better" diet of highly refined low-fiber foods has been readily accepted by the American public, despite the lack of any controlled double-blind or other rigorous study demonstrating its safety and efficacy. Even the popular crackers named for Sylvester Graham (who was a passionate advocate of a high-fiber diet) are now made from low-fiber white flour only.It has