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For this study, health experts randomly assigned 204 overweight and obese adults with high LDL-cholesterol levels to one of the following groups:
The two diets were identical in terms of total calorie goals. Both provided 500 fewer calories than required to maintain each participant’s usual body weight.
After 12 weeks, the researchers analyzed results from 144 people who completed the entire study:
Simply eating two servings per day of a whole oat cereal more than doubled the LDL-cholesterol-lowering benefits of weight loss. The cereal nearly doubled total cholesterol-lowering benefits as well, without affecting levels of good cholesterol.
The weight loss in the cereal group appeared to come more from the waist area than in the diet-only group, which is important. Carrying fat around the midsection is more detrimental to health than fat in other body areas. Midsection, or visceral fat, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers more than subcutaneous fat, which is typically found in the thighs and bottom.
This study shows how small changes can lead to big health improvements. Try the following to put oats to work in your diet.
(J Am Diet Assoc 2010; 110:205–14)