Seventeen adults and 11 children, a group of 18 familial hypercholesterolemic (FHC) and 10 normal subjects, were fed products with and without locust bean gum (LBG) (8 to 30 g/day) to assess the hypolipidemic effect of LBG. Identical food products with and without LBG were consumed by two groups (A and B) of arbitrarily assigned patients using a cross-over design. Plasma cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides were measured at 2-wk intervals and compared to control feeding periods. In group A, FHC C decreased 10% and LDL-C 11%, normal subjects decreased C 6% and LDL-C 10% (p less than 0.001). In group B, FHC C decreased 17% and LDL-C 19%, normal subjects decreased cholesterol 11%, and LDL-C 6% (p less than 0.001). Cholesterol and LDL-C were lowered in FHC children in both groups. High-density lipoprotein/LDL ratios increased in both groups. The use of food products with LBG in children and adults is a unique approach to treating FHC. LBG food acceptance was good, and there were no significant side effects. LBG in food products appears to be an effective, safe approach to controlling hyperlipidemia.