How Do Cheerios Reduce Cholesterol?

teenager with cereal
A woman eating cheerios (Image: mg7/iStock/Getty Images)

New Research Revealed

In a study presented at the Experimental Biology Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 20, 2009, Dr. Kevin C. Maki of Provident Clinical Research announced that eating the popular cereal Cheerios can help to lower serum cholesterol by up to 10 percent in one month. At the beginning of the study, each participant's blood cholesterol was analyzed, followed by a repeated lipid analysis after the study. "We monitored the diets of study participants for 12 weeks, and a clinical evaluation of their cholesterol levels showed coupling Cheerios with a reduced calorie diet significantly helps lower LDL cholesterol levels," said Maki. "We were impressed with how effectively eating Cheerios daily as part of a reduced calorie diet lowered bad cholesterol. These are simple changes that are easy for most people to make."

The 12-Week Study

During the study, participants were fed two 1 1/2-cup daily servings of Cheerios during a 12-week study. Cheerios is made with 100-percent natural whole grain oats and contains soluble fiber and 1 gram of sugar per serving. Cholesterol is involved in the production of bile, an enzyme that helps our bodies digest fat by emulsifying it into smaller fat globlets. The bile that isn't needed by digestion is reabsorbed back into the bloodstream and the rest is lost through regular bowel movements.

Oats contain a non-digestible form of soluble fiber that, when broken down, scavenges cholesterol from the walls of the intestinal tract, along with bile acids. Instead of the cholesterol making its way into the arterial walls of the coronary arteries, it is excreted from the body through regular bowel movements.

More Than Oatmeal

While eating daily servings of oatmeal (or Cheerios) is certainly beneficial to lowering cholesterol levels, the key is eating not only daily servings of oatmeal but also servings of foods containing insoluble fiber like legumes, kidney beans, lentils, nuts, fruits and vegetables to flush the cholesterol out of your system. The combined work of the soluble and insoluble fiber is effective in reducing your risk for heart disease and some forms of colon cancer.

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