Can they lower cholesterol, and alternatives


High levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease. Certain foods can reduce a person’s cholesterol levels. There is some evidence to suggest that Cheerios, a popular breakfast cereal, is one such food.

Cheerios are a breakfast cereal made by Nestle under the umbrella of General Mills. One cup, or 28 grams (g), of Original Cheerios contains 2.83 g of dietary fiber along with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin C.

Cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood. Some cholesterol is normal and even necessary in the body, but too much of a type known as LDL cholesterol can cause problems.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can sometimes build up in blood vessels and cause them to narrow. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

This article examines the relationship between Cheerios and cholesterol. It also considers other foods that can help people reduce their cholesterol.

The theory behind Cheerios being able to lower cholesterol stems from a General Mills-funded study in 1998 on whether whole grain oat, ready-to-eat cereals could influence cholesterol. Cheerios primarily consist of whole grain oats.

The study found that those who ate oat cereal experienced reduced total cholesterol levels by 3.8% and reduced LDL-cholesterol levels by 4.2%.

It is important to note that while this study suggests Cheerios specifically have an impact, the findings could be extrapolated to any other whole grain oat ready-to-eat cereals.

According to a 2019 article, consuming oat products can reduce cholesterol. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan.

The authors note that beta-glucan can help reduce cholesterol by promoting the metabolism of cholesterol and removing it from the body via a person’s stool.

In addition, it can help to balance the gut microbiota. This can improve bile acid metabolism and create short-chain fatty acids that also work to improve cholesterol levels.

A 2019 study notes that consuming 3 g of beta-glucan each day as part of a balanced diet can help to lower cholesterol. Another 2014 meta-analysis found that 3 g or more of beta-glucan can reduce LDL and total cholesterol without affecting HDL cholesterol levels.

The Cheerios manufacturer states that a 1.5 cup serving (39 g) of Original Cheerios contains 1 g of soluble fiber.

People should also make sure they eat Cheerios as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet. There are many different varieties of Cheerios, each with slightly different ingredients, so it is important for individuals to read the packaging.

Most varieties consist of mainly whole grain oats, and some may also include other grains. Some flavors of Cheerios may contain added sugar and may not be suitable for people aiming to limit their sugar intake.

There are many foods besides Cheerios that people can opt for to lower their LDL cholesterol.

A person should aim to eat foods containing dietary soluble fiber, which is present in beans, peas, most fruits, and oats. Beta-glucan is one type of soluble dietary fiber.

A person can also consume foods that contain plant stanols and sterols. These are compounds that resemble cholesterol. A person can find these compounds in the following foods:

  • vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil-based margarine
  • seeds
  • grain products
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • fruits
  • vegetables

Specific foods that can lower cholesterol levels include:

  • Oatmeal: Half a cup of rolled oats contains 2 g of soluble dietary fiber.
  • Avocado: A 100 g serving of avocado contains 10 g of total dietary fiber. Studies show that eating one avocado per day as part of a moderate‐fat, cholesterol‐lowering diet can be beneficial to specifically lower LDL levels without impacting HDL cholesterol.
  • Soy: Soy protein can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol. Studies show that it can lower it by around 3–4% in adults. People would need to eat approximately 25 g of soy protein or more each day for results.
  • Fruit: Certain fruits, such as apples, grapes, and strawberries, are rich in a substance called pectin. This is another type of soluble fiber that can help lower LDL levels.

Learn more about 15 foods that lower cholesterol here.

Cheerios consist of whole grain oats, which contain a type of soluble dietary fiber called beta-glucan. This can help to control LDL cholesterol levels in the body. A person may need to consume 3 g of beta-glucan per day.

Cheerios may be consumed as part of a balanced diet to reduce cholesterol, but people may find other foods they prefer with the same cholesterol-lowering effect. Examples include avocado, soy, and most fruits.

It is important for individuals to note that Cheerios are processed food and that some varieties contain high amounts of sugar. Cheerios and other processed foods should always be eaten in moderation and only as part of a balanced diet.



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