ARS Fat Replacer Shines Again
December 4, 1998
There's more good news about Oatrim--the fat replacer patented in 1991 by
the Agricultural Research Service,
USDA's main research agency. Oatrim is made
from soluble oat fiber.
In ARS studies, daily intake of about 1/2 cup of the powdery substance added
to foods reduced an indicator of fat oxidation by 80 percent. This means the
Oatrim acted as a strong antioxidant that helps protect fatty acids integral to
cell membranes and many other components in the body.
Consuming Oatrim also increased an indicator that more short chain fatty
acids are being produced in the colon. These fatty acids are thought to protect
colon cells against cancer and to reduce risk of heart disease. The studies
were conducted at ARS Human Nutrition Research
Center in Beltsville, Md.
ARS researchers Judith Hallfrisch and Kay Behall earlier reported that
Oatrim reduced body weight, blood lipids and systolic blood pressure and
improved glucose tolerance in men and women participating in the studies.
The researchers attribute Oatrim's antioxidant function to something other
than its beta glucans--soluble fibers known to lower cholesterol. That's
because fat oxidation dropped about equally whether the volunteers consumed
Oatrim with 1 or 10 percent beta glucans. The ARS scientists said other
researchers are already studying the antioxidant properties of oats and barley.
The volunteers exhaled more hydrogen after consuming Oatrim boiled, baked or
uncooked. This indicates that some of the oat extract is fermented by bacteria
in the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids also appear
to play a role in reducing blood lipids and may explain Oatrim's
The fat substitute is used in some baked goods and cheeses and is identified
on the label as Oatrim or hydrolyzed oat flour. In East Coast markets, it is an
additive for skim milk under the brand name Oatri-Slim.
Scientific contact: Judith Hallfrisch or Kay Behall, ARS Beltsville
Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, Md., phone (301) 504-9014, fax
(301) 504-9098, email@example.com and