Portfolio Eating Plans and Recipes


The Portfolio Diet

‘Portfolio diets’ were conceived as a means to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve general health. The basis of a portfolio diet is to eat a range of health-giving foods while avoiding foods known to increase risk of heart disease and other illness, such as those containing animal fats. The portfolio diet is based largely, or exclusively, on plant-based foods which have been proven to enhance health and longevity.

Several trials at the University of Toronto have shown that by eating several of these health-promoting foods in a ‘portfolio’, the benefits are combined. Lowering of bad cholesterol, for instance, is comparable to the conventional use of statin drugs, without the harmful side effects. The trials typically involved consumption of:

• Almonds
• Soya protein
• Foods high in viscous fibre (such as oats) and plant sterols
• Avoidance of saturated fats

Further health benefits would undoubtedly accrue if the portfolio were to include, for instance, more fresh fruit, vegetables and wholefoods such as pulses, nuts, seeds and grains.

In many respects, the results are similar to the proven benefits of a ‘Mediterranean diet’. The Mediterranean diet is also based on plant foods, in particular fresh fruit, vegetables and wholefoods. The diet is low in saturated fat and includes unsaturated fats as found in olive oil, seeds and nuts.

Further information

VEGA’s portfolio of healthy recipes

General articles

Food v drugs
The Times November 17, 2007

Good health on a plate
The Times, October 23, 2006

Mediterranean diet

Portfolio Eating Plan

Portfolio Eating Plan

Almonds Are In

The Almond Board of Califormia

Research papers on portfolio diets

Assessment of the longer-term effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 83, No. 3, 582-591, March 2006

Direct comparison of dietary portfolio vs statin on C-reactive protein
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2005) 59, 851–860, May 2005

Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 81, No. 2, 380-387, February 2005

Combined effects of a dietary portfolio of plant sterols, vegetable protein, viscous fibre and almonds on LDL particle size
British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 92, Number 4, October 2004, pp. 657-663(7)

A Dietary Portfolio: Maximal Reduction of Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol with Diet
Current Atherosclerosis Reports 2004, 6:492-498

The effect of combining plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibers, and almonds in treating hypercholesterolemia
Metabolism, Volume 52, Issue 11 , November 2003, Pages 1478-1483

Effects of a Dietary Portfolio of Cholesterol-Lowering Foods vs Lovastatin on Serum Lipids and C-Reactive Protein
JAMA, Vol. 290 No. 4, July 23, 2003, Pages 502-510

A dietary portfolio approach to cholesterol reduction: Combined effects of plant sterols, vegetable proteins, and viscous fibers in hypercholesterolemia
Metabolism, Volume 51, Issue 12 , December 2002, Pages 1596-1604

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