Can Eating Oatmeal Reduce Cholesterol?

September 8, 2009 by Kenneth  
Filed under Low Cholesterol Diet

The Oatmeal-Cholesterol Connection

Oatmeal that is produced from whole oat does significantly reduce total cholesterol and “bad cholesterol” and does not affect “good cholesterol” and triglyceride levels.

In 1997 the US FDA approved the first food specific health claim for foods containing whole oat and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. The decision was based after a very detailed review of the scientific evidence up to that time.

Ten years on from that decision, Andon and Anderson in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine(2008) have confirmed the original conclusion by the FDA that whole oat does significantly reduce total and “bad cholesterol” and has no adverse effect on “good cholesterol” or “triglycerides” by an exhaustive analysis of the contemporary scientific literature.

What Makes An Oat Whole?

A grain of oat is whole if it contains all three parts of the kernel. That is the bran , the endosperm and the germ. 

The Bran

The bran is the course outer layer of the kernel and it is often removed during processing.It is the part of the kernel that contains the most fibre.

The soluble fibre found in oat grains is beta-glucan and it is responsible for lowering cholesterol.

The exact mechanism of how beta-glucan lowers cholesterol is not known but in general it seems to bind some of the cholesterol in the digestive tractwholegrain kerneland remove it from the body naturally.

The insoluble fibre found in oat grains is what is commonly referred to as roughage. The latter helps the movement of food through the intestines but does not help with the removal of cholesterol.

Oats are unusual as compared to other grains like for example rice,maize and wheat in that they contain a significant amount of both soluble and insoluble fibre.

The bran also contains antioxidants, phytonutrients, iron, zinc,copper, magnesium and B vitamins.

The Endosperm

The endosperm is the largest part of the kernel and contains moat of the carbohydrates and proteins. It is often the only part of the kernel that remains after processing removes the bran and the germ.

The Germ

The germ is also often removed during processing and it contains B vitamins, minerals, oils, antioxidants and phytonutrients.  

                          Schematic of Oat Kernel Cross-section

 

                                                                    wholegrain kernel

 

How Much Whole Oat Do I Have To Eat To Reduce My Cholesterol?

Many scientific studies have provided evidence that 3 or more servings of whole oats per day are associated with reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease.

What Reduction In “bad Cholesterol” Should I Expect ?

You can expect an approximate reduction of 5 % of  “bad cholesterol” when you consume 3 or more servings of whole oats per day . Every 1% reduction in “bad cholesterol” is associated with a decreased risk for coronary heart disease of 1 to 3%. This means that a 5% reduction in “bad cholesterol” could reduce your risk of coronary heart disease in the range of about 5% to 15%. Also, how well eating oatmeal works for you depends on how high your cholesterol is to start with. At the lower cholesterol levels(under 200mg/dL), what really matters is an overall low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.

Oats into the future

Andon and Anderson in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine confirmed that the contemporary scientific literature agreed with the original findings of the FDA that whole oat consumption does significantly reduce total cholesterol and “bad cholesterol” and does not affect “good cholesterol” and triglyceride levels. Furthermore, they have identified emerging new science that claims whole oats consumption :

  • Reduce “bad cholesterol” during weight loss
  • Supply compounds that reduce plaque formation
  • Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces the risk of weight gain and obesity

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Comments

One Comment on "Can Eating Oatmeal Reduce Cholesterol?"

  1. The World is My Oat-ster! | kissmybroccoli on Fri, 31st Dec 2010 5:42 am 

    [...] Oat bran is made from the outer-most layer of the oat kernel, the part that contains the most fiber.  *source* [...]

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