Oat Bran Gets to the Heart of the Matter

MOMENCE, Ill., Apr 8, 2004 -- There is no such thing as a miracle food that automatically protects us from disease. Yet in a time when fiber- rich foods are widely recognized for their disease-preventing potential, oat bran is emerging as one of the best in the crop.

VDF FutureCeuticals Inc.'s new-generation oat bran, Nutrim(TM), is already bulking up fiber's healthful reputation. Until now, the food industry has not been able to easily incorporate the heart health benefits of oat bran into many food products due to its functional limitations.

"Cereal fibers have made quantum leaps in functionality," explains VDF FutureCeuticals executive Jeff Van Drunen. "Nutrim can replace cream and fat in product formulas, and work as a texturizer, as well as provide a rich source of beta-glucans, important for heart health."

Although fiber's role in helping people manage their weight and improve their cholesterol has been acknowledged for decades, a February 2004 study supported by the National Institutes of Health revealed that consuming more fiber from cereals and fruits significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. For each 10-gram increase of fiber per day subjects consumed specifically from cereals, there was a 14 percent decrease in risk of developing heart disease and a 27 percent decrease in risk of death.

"The quality of carbohydrates in our diet is important," says registered dietitian Peggy Eastmond, a nutrition researcher at Purdue University. "These findings indicate that consumers should embrace, not avoid, fiber- and phytonutrient-rich grain foods and fruits for better health."

Industry analysts anticipate the demand for cereal and fruit fibers will rise sharply as leading food manufacturers capitalize on this important research. The rapid growth of functional foods is driven by an increasing consumer understanding of the link between diet and health, aging baby boomers, soaring healthcare costs, and advances in food technology and nutrition research.

Originally developed and patented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the unique oat bran in Nutrim, rich in beta-glucans, enables consumers to get the health benefits of fiber in a form that easily is added to food products. This type of soluble fiber is well-known by the medical and scientific community for its ability to lower blood cholesterol, slow sugar absorption, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce the overall glycemic index (GI) of foods consumed.

Nutrim allows food companies to incorporate fiber into a wide variety of foods, including ready-to-eat soups, low-fat breads, fruit smoothies, low-fat breads and low-fat salad dressings, without compromising taste or flavor. Products containing Nutrim may qualify for the American Heart Association's "Heart Healthy" seal of approval and FDA-approved healthy heart label claims.

VDF FutureCeuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Van Drunen Farms based in Momence, Illinois, is a leading producer and supplier of neutraceuticals and functional foods rich in fiber, antioxidants and other phytochemicals, including grain-, fruit-, vegetable-, and soy-based ingredients. For more information, visit www.futureceuticals.com or call 1-888-472-3545.

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