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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Health Effects of Barley Consumption

Authors
item Behall, Kay
item Hallfrisch, Judith - SELF EMPLOYED

Submitted to: Cereal Foods World
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: November 17, 2005
Publication Date: February 1, 2006
Citation: Behall, K.M., Hallfrisch, J.G. 2006. Effects of barley consumption in CVD risk factors. Cereal Foods World 51:12-15.

Interpretive Summary: Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the United States. Consumption of diets high in whole grains, especially those containing soluble fiber, has been reported to have beneficial effects in the reduction of blood cholesterol. Similar to oats, barley has high amounts of soluble fiber but barley is not extensively consumed in the US diet. Two studies investigated whether consumption of barley would reduce cardiovascular risk factors comparably to reductions observed with other soluble fiber sources. Moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects (women and men) consumed a controlled diet containing 30% of the energy from fat and no more than 300 mg dietary cholesterol for 17 wk. After a 2 wk adaptation period, whole grain foods containing 0 g (whole wheat and rice), 3 g (50/50 mix of the grains ), or 6 g (barley alone) of soluble fiber/day from barley were included in the diets consumed for 5 weeks each. Total cholesterol was significantly lower when the diet contained 3 or 6 gm of beta glucan from barley with the greatest change occurring in the men and postmenopausal women. High density lipoprotein (HDL) and triacylglycerol concentrations did not differ among the three diets containing different amounts of soluble fiber from barley. The lipoprotein cardiovascular risk profile of the subjects improved when whole grains, especially barley, were incorporated into the three diets. Large low density lipoprotein (LDL), small VLDL lipoprotein fractions and mean LDL particle size significantly decreased. These results indicate that barley may be an effective addition to a healthy diet to lower total and LDL-cholesterol without lowering HDL-cholesterol in both men and women. This information is important to the general public and to health care workers planning diets for individuals with coronary heart disease. The studies show that several grain sources are available that can be consumed for beneficial reduction of blood lipid levels, increasing variety into a health promoting diet.

Technical Abstract: Cardiovascular disease remains the major health problem in the US. Consumption of soluble fiber, like that in oats, has been recognized as beneficial in decreasing blood cholesterol levels and other cardiovascular risk factors. Barley has high amounts of soluble fiber but is not extensively consumed in the US diet. These studies investigated whether consumption of barley would reduce cardiovascular risk factors comparably to reductions observed with other soluble fiber sources. Moderately hypercholesterolemic subjects consumed controlled step one diets for 17 wk. After a 2 wk adaptation period, whole grain foods containing 0, 3, or 6 g soluble fiber/day from barley were included in the step one menus. Diets were consumed for 5 wk each and fed in a Latin square design. Total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) were significantly lower when the diet contained 3 or 6 g of beta-glucan from barley, the greatest change occurring in the men and postmenopausal women. High density lipoprotein (HDL) and triacylglycerol concentrations did not differ among the three levels of dietary beta-glucan. Large LDL particle size significantly decreased when whole grains were incorporated into the three diets. Postmenopausal women had significantly higher LDL particle size. These results indicate that barley may be an effective addition to a healthy diet to lower total and LDL-cholesterol in both men and women.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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