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In the late 1980s, oat bran developed the reputation of being a painless way of lowering blood cholesterol without having to endure major dietary changes. The demand for oat bran increased to such an extent that new products, such as oat bran potato chips and oat bran beer found their way onto supermarket shelves. Soon afterwards, oat bran was largly discredited as being ineffective.

Today, the best research indicates that oat bran can be effective in conjunction with a low-fat diet. Oat bran, by itself—or in high-fat products such as potato chips— does not appear to be the answer to lowering blood cholesterol. However, oat bran as part of a low-fat diet can help control blood cholesterol.

Oat bran is still available plain, in rolled oats, and in some oat-based cold cereals (those with 1 to 2 grams of fat per serving are best).


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