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J Am Coll Nutr. 1995 Jun;14(3):251-7.

Soluble fiber enhances the hypocholesterolemic effect of the step I diet in childhood.

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American Health Foundation, New York Medical College, Valhalla, USA.



Psyllium, a water-soluble fiber, has been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in studies of adults. A small number of studies in children have produced variable results.


A 12-week, randomized, single-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel clinical trial was conducted to test the effectiveness of psyllium in lowering total (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in 50 healthy 2 to 11 year old children. Children with two baseline LDL-C levels > or = 110 mg/dL were invited to participate in the trial, and were randomly assigned to follow a usual Step I (Control) diet of low dietary fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, or a Step I diet enriched with psyllium. Children consumed two 1-oz boxes of cereal per day, with each box of psyllium-enriched cereal containing 3.2 g of soluble fiber, and each box of placebo cereal containing less than 0.5 g of soluble fiber.


Greater reduction of total and LDL-cholesterol, and increase in HDL-cholesterol were noted after 12 weeks of the psyllium-enriched Step I diet compared to the Step I control diet. Total cholesterol decreased 21 mg/dL for the high fiber group compared with 11.5 mg/dL for the control group. LDL-C decreased 23 mg/dL for the high fiber group compared with 8.5 mg/dL for the control group. HDL-C increased 4 mg/dL for the high fiber group compared with 1 mg/dL for the controls. TC/HDL and LDL/HDL ratios decreased significantly more so for the high fiber group as well.


In this 12-week study, soluble fiber (psyllium) provided added benefit to the Step I diet in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

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