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J Nutr. 1992 May;122(5):1070-6.

Barley diets with different fat sources have hypocholesterolemic effects in chicks.

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  • 1Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717.


Saturated fat is known to elevate serum cholesterol, whereas soluble dietary fiber has a hypocholesterolemic effect. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of barley and wheat diets supplemented with five fat sources on lipid metabolism in chicks. In two separate experiments, broiler chicks were fed isonitrogenous diets containing 23% protein, 11.4% dietary fiber and 10% dietary fat for 17 d. Diets contained 60% either hull-less barley or red spring wheat, with either palm oil, dehydrated egg yolk, butter, tallow or corn oil. Growth, feed efficiency, plasma lipids, liver cholesterol, and fecal fat and dry matter were measured. All chicks fed wheat grew faster and had greater food efficiency than those fed barley. All barley-fed chicks had lower (P less than 0.0001) total plasma cholesterol concentration (3.1 to 4.0 mmol/L) than those fed wheat (6.0 to 11.3 mmol/L). Chicks fed palm oil with wheat had the highest total cholesterol, 11.3 mmol/L. Liver cholesterol concentration was higher (P less than 0.0001) for all wheat-fed chicks (22.8-86.4 mmol/g) compared with those fed barley (6.7 to 12.2 mmol/g). Fecal crude fat was higher (P less than 0.05) for chicks fed barley, and excreta dry matter was lower for barley-fed chicks. Results indicate that the high soluble fiber content of this barley exerts a hypocholesterolemic effect in chicks regardless of dietary fat source, possibly mediated through lowered fat absorption.

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