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Nondigestible fiber lowers cholesterol, body fat

X-ray

You've heard the adage "You are what you eat," and health professionals agree. They emphasize that the nutrients in the foods we consume can potentially enhance health and reduce disease.  

Moul Dey, SDSU associate professor of health and nutritional sciences, conducts research to understand how nutrients can affect gene expression and subsequently impact the development and progression of diseases. Dey's two recent studies, among several others, focus on using whole grain constituents to prevent the development of metabolic diseases that increase heart attack risks and cancer - the two leading killers of Americans.

Dey collaborated with professor Bonny Specker, director of the Ethel Austin Martin Endowed Program in Human Nutrition at SDSU, to study the effects of a special, nondigestible, chemically modified wheat fiber called resistant starch on metabolic syndrome. The starch resists digestion and is a naturally low-calorie food ingredient.

Energy scan

In the United States, 34% of adults have metabolic syndrome, which significantly increases their chances of developing heart disease. Associated conditions include high blood pressure, insulin resistance, high levels of triglycerides and bad cholesterols in the bloodstream as well as low levels of good cholesterol, and obesity. The research, conducted in two 12-week sessions over a 26-week period, involved 86 adults in two Hutterite colonies in eastern South Dakota.

Energy scans

The starch was incorporated into the intervention group's flour. All the meals in this communal setting are prepared from scratch and every meal contains one or two flour-based items. Conducting the study through the colonies also potentially minimized the genetic variability in response to the intervention, Dey explains.

Read more on iGrow.

This information was originally published in the AES Annual Report.

Read more on iGrow.

This information was originally published in the AES Annual Report.

Top photo: Research associate Teresa Binkley shows how the portable dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scanner in the mobile unit works to evaluate body fat and lean tissue distribution. Graduate student Robert Juenemann is her subject.

Bottom photos: Researchers preformed dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans on each of the study participants to determine changes in body fat and lean tissue distribution.