Here’s a fascinating 2002 study by Dr. Brenda Davy and colleagues at Colorado State University that examined the NMR lipoprotein differences between a diet enriched in oats and one enriched with wheat. (Davy BM, Davy KP, Ho RC et al. High-fiber oat cereal compared with wheat cereal consumption favorably alters LDL-cholesterol subclass and particle numbers in middle-aged and older men. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 76:351-358.)
36 sedentary, overweight men (average BMI around 30–obese), aged 50-75 years, were given a diet enriched with either oat bran (as oatmeal and oat bran, providing 5.5 grams of beta-glucan) or wheat (as a hot cereal or Frosted Mini-Wheats), with equivalent calories in each group. All underwent baseline NMR lipoprotein analysis.
Three months later, there were no differences in “anthropometrics” like weight, waist size, or BMI (though there was a trend towards larger waistlines in the wheat group). The NMR lipoprotein analysis was repeated.
Comparison of the lipoprotein changes revealed:
–LDL cholesterol: Down 2.5% with oats, up 8.0% with wheat.
–LDL particle number: Down 5% with oats, up 14.2% with wheat.
–Small LDL: Down 17.3% with oats, up 60.4% with wheat.
–Triglycerides: Down 7.6% with oats, up 22.0% with wheat.
The across-the-board differences between the wheat and oat effects were astounding. In particular, note the extraordinary effect on small LDL particles: wheat triggered a 60% increase.
Similar studies yielding similar results have been conducted elsewhere, including Dr. Ronald Krauss’ group at University of California-Berkeley.
Now, this was a study conducted under the somewhat artificial circumstances of a study. But imagine this sort of habitual intake continues, not for just three months, but for years. After all, wheat has expanded and metastasized to all three meals, snacks, every day, 7 days a week in most Americans’ diet.
What a wonderfully graphic representation of the undesirable effects of wheat products. When you see Mini-Wheats, Shredded Wheat, whole grain bread, whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, Raisin Bran, and the thousands of other wheat-containing products that promise health, run the other way. Grab some oat bran on the way out.
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