Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in India (Prabhakaran et al., 2016). Dyslipidemia is a major factor in cardiovascular disease, and dietary patterns can affect the level of cholesterol in the blood (Davis, 1990). This four-week prospective, randomized, parallel, controlled study was designed to determine if consumption of oat fiber improved lipids in Indians with slightly elevated cholesterol. Eighty subjects (age 20-50) were recruited for the study, and 69 finished the study. Thirty-three subjects in the control group were asked to maintain regular diet and exercise; thirty-six subjects were given 35 grams of oats twice a day which provided 3 grams of soluble fiber. A lipid panel was drawn at baseline and four weeks.
There was no statistically significant difference between the intervention and the control group. The control group saw significant percent changes in total cholesterol (p<0.01) and percent changes in LDL-C (p<0.02). The LDL-C was still clinically high but trending to near normal (“Cholesterol Levels: What You Need to Know,”2017). The serum triglycerides rose over the four weeks and stayed in the clinical boarder line high. The intervention of three grams of oats containing β-glucan may be useful in managing total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Oats can be a good replacement for highly processed carbohydrates, which may be high in simple sugars. More robust studies would be recommended to see long-term effects.
Replacing unhealthy food with high-quality carbohydrates, such as oats containing β-glucan, may have a positive impact on heart health.