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Prev Med. 1988 May;17(3):377-86.

Serum lipid response to a fat-modified, oatmeal-enhanced diet.

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  • 1Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois 60611.


The purpose of this study was to confirm and extend previous findings that serum cholesterol response to a fat-modified diet is enhanced by oat fiber. Participants (n = 236) were recruited from the Continental Illinois National Bank in Chicago. Data including weight, serum lipid level, lipoproteins, and 3-day food records were collected at baseline and every 4 weeks for 12 weeks. All participants were instructed to follow the fat-modified (Phase II) diet recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). After 4 weeks, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. While both groups continued to follow the AHA diet, Group 1 was instructed to include 2 oz (56 g, dry wt) of oatmeal, isocalorically substituted for other carbohydrate foods. Group 2 served as the control and consumed no oat products throughout the study. Serum cholesterol values at baseline and after 4 weeks of the AHA diet were similar for both groups (203.9 and 193.0 mg/dl for Group 1 and 205.3 and 194.5 mg/dl for Group 2). After 4 weeks of oatmeal intervention, mean group differences were -6.8 and -2.1 mg/dl (P = 0.008 one-tailed t test) for Groups 1 and 2, respectively. Following an additional 4 weeks of oatmeal intervention, the Group 1 mean cholesterol increased slightly (0.9 mg/dl), while the Group 2 level decreased slightly (-0.7 mg/dl). Overall serum cholesterol responses for the two groups from Visit 2 to Visit 4 were -6.0 and -2.8 mg/dl for Groups 1 and 2, respectively (P = 0.074, one tail). Changes in weight were small and nonsignificant. Subgroup analyses revealed greater reductions in serum cholesterol among participants with the highest baseline serum cholesterol (-8.0 mg/dl vs -1.7 mg/dl for Subgroups 1 and 2, respectively). These data support previous findings that inclusion of oatmeal in a fat-modified diet is helpful in lowering serum cholesterol, particularly for individuals with elevated serum cholesterol levels.

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