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Double-strength cholesterol reducer?

Double-strength cholesterol reducer?

Rice bran, an upstart competitor with oat bran for honors as the top cholesterol-reducing food, looks like a winner.

An ongoing study at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research center in Albany, Calif., indicates rice bran works as well as oat bran in lowering blood cholesterol in hamsters. Moreover, the researchers have found that defatting -- a common process for extracting oil from rice bran and other foods -- may double rice bran's cholesterol-reducing efficiency. Oat bran's structure is not conducive to defatting, says study leader Talwinder S. Kahlon.

Preliminary results show a balanced diet including 10 percent dietary fiber from defatted rice bran reduces cholesterol in hamsters by more than 25 percent. The experiment needs verification, the researchers say. They also hope to determine why rice bran is more effective without its oil, which contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.

The researchers first fed 70 hamsters a special diet to increase their cholesterol levels. Then, for three weeks, groups of 10 hamsters each ate diets differing only in the source of fiber: defatted rice bran, rice bran, oat bran, wheat bran or a mixture of wheat and oat bran. One control group received no extra cholesterol, while another got cholesterol but no reducer. To equalize total oil content and calorie levels, the researchers added corn oil to all the diets except the ordinary rice bran diet.

An age-old livestock staple, rice bran -- the brown shell removed during the milling of white rice -- is used increasingly in U.S. snacks and cereals. Asian companies extract rice bran's oil, but they sell the oil for food products and the defatted bran primarily for use in agriculture and industry.
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Title Annotation:rice bran
Author:Knox, Charles
Publication:Science News
Date:Nov 12, 1988
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