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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Lipids Significantly Reduced by Diet Containing Barley Compared to Whole Wheat and Brown Rice in Moderately Hypercholesterolemic Men.

Authors
item Behall, Kay
item Scholfield, Daniel
item Hallfrisch, Judith

Submitted to: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2003
Publication Date: January 1, 2004
Citation: Behall, K.M., Scholfield, D.J., Hallfrisch, J.G. 2004. Lipids significantly reduced by diet containing barley compared to whole wheat and brown rice in moderately hypercholesterolemic men. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 23:55-62.

Interpretive Summary: Cardiovascular disease remains the major health problem in the US even though fat intake has declined in response to recommendations of health organizations. Consumption of soluble fiber, like that in oats, has been recognized as beneficial in decreasing blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Barley contains high amounts of soluble fiber but is not consumed as extensively as oats in the US diet. This study investigated whether consumption of barley would reduce cardiovascular risk factors similarly to the reduction observed after oats. Eighteen moderately hypercholesterolemic men initially consumed a Step 1 diet to adjust the subjects to a lower fat, higher fiber diet than is typically consumed by the U.S. population. Three diets with similar total dietary fiber were fed for 5 weeks each. Only test foods made with whole wheat or brown rice (low), ½ whole wheat/ brown rice and ½ barley (mid) or only barley (high) varied between the diets. Total lipids were determined enzymatically and lipid subclass fractions were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Compared to pre-study values, total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides were 4%, 11% and 3% lower, respectively, following the equilibration diet. Total cholesterol (14%, 17% and 20%, respectively) and LDL cholesterol (17%, 17% and 24%, respectively) were significantly lower (P < 0.0001) after the low, mid and high soluble fiber diets compared to pre-study values. Triglycerides were 6%, 10% and 16% lower (P = 0.09) while HDL cholesterol (9%, 7% and 18%) was higher (P < 0.001) after the experimental diets compared to pre-study values. Mean LDL particle number significantly decreased (P < 0.007) and large LDL cholesterol fraction trended toward lower levels (P = 0.06). Overall the subjects' cardiovascular risk factors improved with decreased total cholesterol, LDL (especially large particle number) and total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio; the higher soluble fiber intake having the greatest effect on total and LDL cholesterol. The American public will benefit by having another food source containing soluble fiber that can be included in a healthy diet to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Technical Abstract: Context: Cardiovascular disease remains the major health problem in the US even though fat intake has declined in response to health organizations' recommendations. Soluble fiber has been recognized as beneficial in decreasing blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Barley contains high amounts of soluble fiber but is not consumed as extensively as oats. Objectives: Determine whether barley, as the soluble fiber source, in the diet would beneficially change cardiovascular risk factors. Design: Men consumed a controlled equilibration diet (step 1, 30% fat, 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein, < 300 mg cholesterol) for 2 wk. Men then consumed the diet with about 20% of energy replaced with brown rice/whole wheat, barley, or ½ barley & ½ brown rice/whole wheat for 5 wk each in a Latin square design. Fasting blood was drawn twice weekly. Participants: Eighteen normohypertensive moderately hypercholesterolemic men (28-62 yr) were selected after clinical screening and medical evaluation. Study was approved by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health IRB . Major Outcome Measures: Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols were measured enzymatically and lipid fractions by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Results: Compared to pre-study values, total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triacylglycerols were 4%, 11% and 3% lower, respectively, following the equilibration diet. Total cholesterol (14%, 17% and 20%, respectively) and LDL cholesterol (17%, 17% and 24%, respectively) was significantly lower (P < 0.0001) after the low, mid and high soluble fiber diets compared to pre-study values. Triacylglycerols were 6%, 10% and 16% lower (P = 0.09) while HDL cholesterol (9%, 7% and 18%) was higher (P < 0.001) after the experimental diets compared to pre-study values. Mean LDL particle number significantly decreased (P < 0.007) and large LDL cholesterol fraction trended toward lower levels (P = 0.06). Conclusion: Increasing soluble fiber through consumption of barley in a healthy diet can reduce cardiovascular risk.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014
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