Global review of heart health claims for oat β-glucan products

Mathews, R., Kamil, A., & Chu, Y. (2020). Global review of heart health claims for oat β-glucan products. Nutrition Reviews, 78(S1), 78-97. doi:10.1093/nutrit/nuz069



Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death globally. Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber, as part of a healthy diet, can lower the risk of CHD. Health claims on food products are effective in helping consumers select healthful diets. The US Food and Drug Administration was the first to approve a health claim, in 1997, between β-glucan soluble fiber from whole oats, oat bran, and whole oat flour and reduced risk of CHD. Only a few countries have approved similar claims. Since 1997, a significant amount of additional evidence has been published on the relationship between oat β-glucan and CHD. To assist other jurisdictions in potentially utilizing this claim, the full extent of data that supports this claim (ie, the evidence utilized by the US Food and Drug Administration to substantiate the claim, as well as the results of 49 clinical trials published since 1997) are reviewed here. The complexities involved in authoring evidence-based health claims, including the impact of processing on β-glucan cholesterol-lowering efficacy in approving eligible β-glucan products, are also discussed.