Oats and CVD risk markers: a systematic literature review

Frank Thies, Lindsey F Masson, Paolo Boffetta, Penny Kris-Etherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


High consumption of whole-grain food such as oats is associated with a reduced risk of CVD and type 2 diabetes. The present study aimed to systematically review the literature describing long-term intervention studies that investigated the effects of oats or oat bran on CVD risk factors. The literature search was conducted using Embase, Medline and the Cochrane library, which identified 654 potential articles. Seventy-six articles describing sixty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies lacked statistical power to detect a significant effect of oats on any of the risk factors considered: 59 % of studies had less than thirty subjects in the oat intervention group. Out of sixty-four studies that assessed systemic lipid markers, thirty-seven (58 %) and thirty-four (49 %) showed a significant reduction in total cholesterol (2-19 % reduction) and LDL-cholesterol (4-23 % reduction) respectively, mostly in hypercholesterolaemic subjects. Few studies (three and five, respectively) described significant effects on HDL-cholesterol and TAG concentrations. Only three out of twenty-five studies found a reduction in blood pressure after oat consumption. None of the few studies that measured markers of insulin sensitivity and inflammation found any effect after long-term oat consumption. Long-term dietary intake of oats or oat bran has a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol. However, there is no evidence that it favourably modulates insulin sensitivity. It is still unclear whether increased oat consumption significantly affects other risk markers for CVD risk, and comprehensive, adequately powered and controlled intervention trials are required to address this question.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue numberSuppl 2
Early online date30 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014

Bibliographical note


The authors thank M. Mowett for sourcing the majority of the articles. F. T. reviewed articles for inclusion and drafted the paper. L. F. M. carried out the literature search, extracted the data and contributed to writing the paper, P. B. and P. K.-E. contributed to writing the paper.

F. T., P. K.-E. and P. B. received an honorarium from Quaker Oats Company (a subsidiary of PepsiCo) for attending the workshop in May 2012 to discuss the content of the supplement and the University of Aberdeen received an unrestricted grant from Quaker Oats Company. L. F. M. has no conflict of interest to report.

This paper was published as part of a supplement to British Journal of Nutrition, publication of which was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Quaker Oats Co. (a subsidiary of PepsiCo Inc.). The papers included in this supplement were invited by the Guest Editor and have undergone the standard journal formal review process. They may be cited.


  • Avena
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Diet
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Edible Grain
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review


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