Monday, August 31, 2009


Oats, by virtue of the presence of the soluble fiber, beta glucan and low saturated fat has been cleared for making claims about its potential to reduce risk of heart diseases. Pepsico's Quaker Oats Company used to include on the label that it can give guarantee for reducing cholesterol if consumed at the level recommended by them within 30 days. But the manufacturer seems to have carried away by the response from the consumers and started making grossly exaggerated claims which have come to haunt the company

Taken to the courts for these unsubstantiated claims, it sought to settle the case by agreeing that "Quaker will no longer describe its oatmeal as a "unique" whole grain food that "actively finds" cholesterol and removes it from the body, and will no longer display a graph that greatly exaggerated the cholesterol-lowering potential of oatmeal. Under current FDA regulations, products low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in soluble fiber are able to claim that they reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The fiber contained in whole oat is called beta-glucan soluble fiber, and is found in oat bran, rolled oats and whole oat flour".

It is amazing how industry giants can influence the decisions by the regulatory bodies like FDA, as reflected by the clearance being given to oats with even higher fat content than hitherto permitted to make the same claim!. A look at the studies on cholesterol bashing power of oats, brings out the stark reality that most of the studies were of limited duration not exceeding 8 weeks, the decrease is not dramatic achieving about 3-5% reduction in total cholesterol, the daily consumption has to be above 60 gm and there is no proof it can go down further by prolonged consumption. Of course there is no denying the fact that regular consumption of oats may not do any harm.


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