Background: The cholesterol-lowering abilities of rice bran's fiber and oil apart from its fatty acid composition remain unclear.
Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the effects of defatted rice bran and rice bran oil in an average American diet on blood lipids in moderately hypercholesterolemic persons.
Design: Study 1 used a parallel-arm design. Twenty-six healthy volunteers consumed a diet with 13-22 g dietary fiber/d for 3 wk, and then 13 of the volunteers were switched to a diet with defatted rice bran to double the fiber intake for 5 wk. Study 2 was a randomized, crossover, 10-wk feeding study performed in 14 volunteers who consumed a diet with rice bran oil (1/3 of the total dietary fat) substituted for an oil blend that had a fatty acid composition similar to that of the rice bran oil. Serum lipids and factor VII were measured in both studies.
Results: Defatted rice bran did not lower lipid concentrations. In study 2, total cholesterol was significantly lower with consumption of the diet containing rice bran oil than with consumption of the control diet. Moreover, with consumption of the rice bran oil diet, LDL cholesterol decreased by 7% (P < 0.0004), whereas HDL cholesterol was unchanged.
Conclusions: Rice bran oil, not fiber, lowers cholesterol in healthy, moderately hypercholesterolemic adults. There were no substantial differences in the fatty acid composition of the diets; therefore, the reduction of cholesterol was due to other components present in the rice bran oil, such as unsaponifiable compounds.