FORT COLLINS, COLORADO. A low-fat, high-fiber diet is often recommended for reducing cholesterol levels and lowering heart disease risk. Rarely is it specified what kind of dietary fiber should be eaten in order to obtain the benefits. Researchers at Colorado State University now report that soluble fiber (from oat products) is far more effective in reducing critical cholesterol components than is insoluble fiber (from wheat products). Their clinical trial involved 36 overweight men between the ages of 50 and 75 years who were randomized to consume two large servings per day of either oat cereal or wheat cereal for a 12-week period.
The researchers found that men assigned to the oat cereal group showed a very significant drop (-17.3 per cent) in the level of small, dense LDL particles while wheat cereal consumers saw a marked increase (+60.4 per cent). Small, dense LDL cholesterol particles are believed to be much more likely to cause atherosclerosis than are larger, less-dense LDL particles. The LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio showed a beneficial drop (-6.3 per cent) in the oat group compared to an increase (+14.2 per cent) in the wheat group. A similar trend was noted for triglyceride level that dropped by 6.6 per cent in the oat group and increased by 22 per cent in the wheat group.
The researchers conclude that oat cereal consumption is associated with beneficial cholesterol changes that
may contribute to the cardioprotective effect of oat fiber. NOTE: This study was partially funded by The
Quaker Oats Company.