Objective: The present study was undertaken to examine the lipid lowering effects of rhubarb fiber prepared by blanching and drying fresh rhubarb stalks. The new fiber source contained 74% dietary fiber, on dry weight basis, with 66% insoluble and 8% soluble fiber.
Design: Ten hypercholesterolemic men were assigned to consume 27 g of ground rhubarb stalk fiber per day for 4 weeks. The dietary intake in terms of total energy, lipid and cholesterol was kept unaltered during the study period. Changes in serum lipid profile were monitored by obtaining blood samples before and after the fiber intervention.
Results: Rhubarb fiber supplementation resulted in significant lowering of serum total cholesterol (8%) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (9%), while high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) concentrations remained unchanged. The depressed total and LDL cholesterol levels returned to baseline after the fiber supplementation was withdrawn for 1 month.
Conclusion: The rhubarb stalk fiber is effective in lowering serum cholesterol concentrations, especially LDL cholesterol, in hypercholesterolemic men. These results signify the potential use of underutilized rhubarb crop.