The influence of raw and retrograded high amylose corn starch on cholesterol metabolism in normo- as well as hypercholesterolemic rats was studied. No effect on cholesterol metabolism was observed in normocholesterolemic rats. On the contrary, in hypercholesterolemic animals plasma free and total cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower when enzyme resistant starch was fed. Liver cholesterol concentrations were significantly decreased in rats given the hypercholesterolemic diet supplemented with retrograded high amylose corn starch. Total fecal bile acid excretion and bile acid spectrum were not changed by enzyme resistant starch consumption. Plasma total cholesterol concentrations showed a significantly negative correlation with fecal coprostanol excretion in hypercholesterolemic rats. However, there is no evidence that coprostanol is the only factor responsible for the observed hypocholesterolemic effect of enzyme resistant starch in cholesterol fed rats. (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Inc.