Review: Oats may offer more than cholesterol benefits

by Jeff Gelski
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LEXINGTON, KY. — Including oats and oat-based products as part of a lifestyle management program may confer health benefits that extend beyond reducing total cholesterol and L.D.L. (bad) cholesterol, according to the results of a scientific review appearing in the January-February issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine.

In 1997 the Food and Drug Administration approved a health claim for foods containing soluble fiber from whole oats after concluding the beta-glucan soluble fiber of whole oats is responsible for total and L.D.L. cholesterol-lowering effects.

The recent scientific review analyzed the findings of more contemporary analyses to determine if they were consistent with the F.D.A.’s 1997 conclusion. Serving as co-authors were Dr. Mark B. Andon, Ph.D., of the Quaker-Tropicana-Gatorade Research and Development Department, Barrington, Ill., and Dr. James W. Anderson, M.D., of the College of Medicine, Departments of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, University of Kentucky.

According to the review, studies conducted during the past 15 years without exception have shown oat consumption lowers total cholesterol levels and reduces L.D.L. cholesterol without having adverse effects on H.D.L. (good) cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations.

Also according to the review, recent studies suggest eating oatmeal may reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and weight gain; reduce L.D.L. cholesterol during weight loss; provide favorable changes in the physical characteristics of L.D.L. cholesterol particles; and supply unique compounds that may lead to reducing early hardening of the arteries.

"Whole grain products like oatmeal are among some of the best foods one can eat to improve cholesterol levels, in addition to other lifestyle choices," Dr. Anderson said.

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