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Psyllium/whole-oat cereal more effective in reducing cholesterol.

Psyllium/Whole-Oat Cereal More Effective in Reducing Cholesterol

Men who ate a cereal containing psyllium and whole oats as part of a low-fat diet achieved greater reductions in serum cholesterol that men who ate just a whole oat cereal alone in the same diet, according to a recent study by a team of researchers from the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

The psyllium group lowered its total cholesterol level by 16 percent, from 199 mg/dl to 168 mg/dl. The whole oat group lowered its total cholesterol level by 10 percent. The difference between the two groups was significant.

LDL-cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") decreased by 19 percent, from 130 mg/d1. to 105 mg/dl., in the psyllium group and by 15 percent, from 13 mg/d1. to 112 mg/dd1., in the whole oat group.

HDL-cholesterol ("good cholesterol") did not change significantly for either group. Both groups lost a small amount of weight over the course of the study.

Results of the study, which also included two weeks of evaluation and four weeks of dietary training before the eight weeks of cereal testing, were reported by the team at the annual meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) in Washington, D.C. Along with this study, two other independent reports were presented at FASEB corroborating that a low-fat diet including a psyllium-based cereal reduces cholesterol beyond what can be attained by simple elimination of high fat foods.

The University of Massachusetts team, which included James M. Rippe, M.D., Director of the Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Laboratory, and Diane H. Morris, Ph.D., R.D., Director of Nutrition for the Laboratory, recruited 24 adult men, ages 30-60, in the Worcester, Mass., area. All were basically healthy and non-obese, but most had cholesterol levels between 200 mg/dl and 240 mg/dl, a level just over the limit which medical authorities regard as desirable for the prevention of arteriosclerosis.

At the beginning of the study, the group went through a two-week period of evaluation, during which measurements were made of blood lipids and usual dietary intake. For the next four weeks, the entire group was instructed to follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet plan designed by the American Heart Association, known as the AHA Step 1 diet.

All of the study participants were successful in reducing the amount of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in their diets, and tests at the end of the period showed they had lowered their serum cholesterol levels.

Then, the group was split in two sections, with overall equivalent cholesterol averages. For the next eight weeks, half of the group ate 3.4 ounces per day of a cereal containing 12.7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium and whole oats while the other half ate 3.4 ounces of cereal per day containing 1.9 grams of soluble fiber from whole oats. The fat and cholesterol intakes of the two groups did not differ, indicating that the cholesterol-lowering effect was due to the type of cereal consumed.

At the end of the "intervention" period, blood samples were taken and the results evaluated.

The researchers concluded that a combination of a change in dietary habits and a simple dietary modification, namely the addition of a high-soluble-fiber cereal with psyllium, reduces elevated cholesterol and may decrease an individual's risk for coronary heart disease.

PHOTO : PSYLLIUM: A NATURAL GRAIN Psyllium is a natural grain similar to oats, wheat and corn. Consumed for generations, the grain has a very high soluble-fiber content, more than eight times that of oat bran. Research reports indicate that low-fat diets containing psyllium cereal have a greater impact on blood cholesterol levels than a low-fat diet alone.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jun 22, 1990
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