16. Health Claims for Oat Products: A Global Perspective

  1. YiFang Chu
  1. Joanne Storsley1,
  2. Stephanie Jew2 and
  3. Nancy Ames1

Published Online: 15 NOV 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118354100.ch16

Oats Nutrition and Technology

Oats Nutrition and Technology

How to Cite

Storsley, J., Jew, S. and Ames, N. (2013) Health Claims for Oat Products: A Global Perspective, in Oats Nutrition and Technology (ed Y. Chu), John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118354100.ch16

Editor Information

  1. Quaker Oats Center of Excellence, PepsiCo R&D Nutrition, Barrington, Illinois, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

  2. 2

    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 NOV 2013
  2. Published Print: 20 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118354117

Online ISBN: 9781118354100



  • oats;
  • health claims;
  • beta-glucan;
  • soluble fibre;
  • cholesterol


For the past 30 years, oats and oat products have received recognition for their ability to lower cholesterol. Moreover, recent studies suggest that the health benefits of oats may extend to lowering of glycemic response, body weight, and blood pressure, and increasing satiety. Research on the health benefits of oats has led to approved health claims for oat products around the world. These claims, and the evidence required to substantiate them, vary depending on the country or jurisdiction. Codex Alimentarius has recommendations on the scientific substantiation of health claims, with jurisdictions such as the United States, Canada, Europe (EFSA), and Australia/New Zealand having published their own guidance for the submission of food health claims. Although the regulatory frameworks differ, there are several common guiding principles for substantiation of health claims, including emphasis on a systematic and transparent review of all scientific evidence, and the requirement for human studies.

Of the currently approved health claims, most link oat beta-glucan with cholesterol lowering. A few jurisdictions have authorized a claim for oat beta-glucan and glycemia, including the European Union (EU). The EU has also authorized a claim for oat grain fiber and increase in fecal bulk for use on foods high in oat fiber. Canada, the EU and Australia/New Zealand have not authorized whole grain claims but promote whole grain intake through dietary recommendations.

Health claims have the potential to be of great benefit to all stakeholders involved: producers, industry, and consumers. However, steps must be taken to ensure that health claims are not misleading to the consumer, such as truthful and coherent labeling and advertising by the food industry, strict government regulation of health claims, and public programs aimed at assisting consumers with reading nutritional labels.

Considerations in conducting research for health claim substantiation related to oat beta-glucan include ensuring that beta-glucan properties and amounts in test foods used in clinical trials are properly controlled and thorough characterization of the beta-glucan being tested. It is imperative that clinical trial test foods such as those made from oats are thoroughly evaluated and are consistent (both the bioactive and the food matrix), as this has implications in understanding the mechanisms by which the bioactive exerts its health effect. If future research continues to point to the importance of high molecular weight and viscosity of beta-glucan in achieving the desired health benefits, then industry must also ensure that processing does not impact these attributes negatively.