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ARS Fat Replacer Shines Again / December 4, 1998 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Oatrim incorporated into baked goods.

ARS Fat Replacer Shines Again

By Judy McBride
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 cholesterol-lowering effect.

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, hallfrisch@bhnrc.arsusda.gov and behall@bhnrc.arsusda.gov

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