The Portfolio Diet: Designed by an MD, with Proven Health Benefits Shown in Published Medical Research.
About The Portfolio
A study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (Aug.24/31, 2011) found that a vegetarian diet emphasizing a “portfolio” of cholesterol-lowering foods did a better job of reducing low-density lipoprotein — the so-called “bad” cholesterol — than a low-saturated-fat vegetarian diet. All participants in the study followed a heart-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Those in the portfolio group were told to emphasize four specific types of cholesterol-lowering foods in their diets — soluble fiber, nuts, soy protein, and margarines enriched with plant sterols.
For someone eating 2,000 calories per day, a portfolio diet would aim to provide the following amounts of these cholesterol-lowering foods:
Soluble fiber: 18 grams per day of fiber from foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, barley, peas, beans, lentils, psyllium, and vegetables such as okra and eggplant
Nuts: one ounce, or about one handful, per day
Soy protein: 42.8 grams per day from soy-based foods such as soy milk, tofu, and soy meat substitutes (four ounces of tofu contains 9.4 grams of soy protein; eight ounces of regular soy milk contains six grams of soy protein)
Plant-sterol-enriched margarine: 1.8 grams per day (1 to 2 tablespoons, depending on the product; see the chart “Foods fortified with plant sterols” for more information)
The difficulties of adhering to the regime on a daily basis has resulted in a few products, bars, powders, etc., that combine these ingredients into a convenient option.
One product, CardioBar was studied by Dr. James Anderson MD in a study at the University of KY Medical School, and the results of that study can be seen at https://cardiobar.com/studies-articles/
Don’t think of the portfolio diet as a diet; think of it as an investment in lower cholesterol, and as a list/ portfolio of items to add to your daily eating as you normally do.
That advice comes from David J.A. Jenkins, MD, creator of the portfolio diet. Or, as the University of Toronto nutrition expert prefers to call it, a dietary portfolio.
Whatever he calls it, it clearly works. Jenkins and colleagues have shown that their portfolio diet plan cuts cholesterol as well as powerful cholesterol-lowering drugs — with no side effects.
“Now we can say it is a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods,” Jenkins says. “We hope later to be able to say it is a portfolio of heart risk-reducing foods. And maybe someday we can say it lowers the risk of cancer and diabetes, too.”