Presenting their findings at last week's Experimental Biology Meeting in New Orleans, scientists at Provident Clinical Research, who conducted the research, found that eating two 1.5 cup servings (one cup equals 28g) of Cheerios a day, as part of a low-fat, reduced calorie diet, lowered LDL - or 'bad' - cholesterol by "about 10 per cent in one month."
"The study also showed eating Cheerios as part of a reduced calorie diet low in fat lowers bad cholesterol twice as much in 12 weeks than a reduced calorie diet low in fat without Cheerios," said the researchers.
Bolstered by growing evidence that more than hint at the potential health benefits of oats and, notably their potential role in lowering the risk of high cholesterol, oats are attracting growing interest from both formulators and consumers.
Earlier this month, the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA), that polled nutritionists in its organisation with health benefits and value featuring as top criteria, placed oats in its top five list of top functional foods.
Oats came second in the list because of its high-fibre content, a “powerhouse nutrient, known for aiding with digestion, [and which] also helps fight disease, and may lower risk for high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.”
According to the association, most Americans ate 15g a day, about half of the 30g recommended to ward off disease.
Cheerio to cholesterol
"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 Kevin C. Maki, at Provident Clinical Research.
"These are simple changes that are easy for most people to make," he added.
In addition to the cholesterol-lowering benefits, the study found that eating Cheerios as part of a reduced calorie diet lowered weight "by five pounds and shrank waists by three centimetres (1.2 inches) in 12 weeks".
According to General Mills', the whole grain oats contained in Cheerios contain soluble fibre (one 28g serving contains 1g) that "act as tiny sponges to soak up and remove some cholesterol from the body".
A recent report on breakfast cereals conducted by global consumer watchdog Consumers International, found that the most healthful breakfast brands are: Cheerios with three gram of fibre per serving and one gram of sugar and Life, made by Pepsico's Quaker Oats unit.