Is the ‘portfolio diet’ all it’s cracked up to be? We asked the experts

Researchers have hailed a new diet as a miracle cure for heart health, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

The portfolio diet, developed by scientists at Harvard University, consists of cholesterol-lowering foods such as whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables and plant proteins.

A study of more than 210,000 healthcare professionals found that participants had a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke over 30 years.

The portfolio diet has been endorsed by the American Heart Association (AHA), with the organization urging, “We need to get the word out.”

Much like diversifying a stock portfolio with several promising investments, the “portfolio diet” involves combining several healthy diets.

However, dietitians said the portfolio diet is indistinguishable from more well-researched plans such as the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets, and that promoting yet another diet full of buzzwords confuses consumers.

Dietitians told that the portfolio diet is no different than healthy basic eating and is creating confusion among consumers

Laura Silver, registered dietitian and founder of Silver Street Nutrition in New York City, told, “This isn’t that different from anything else. It’s just a new name for a new diet that’s pretty much the same.”

“It doesn’t seem like there’s really anything special here.”

The wallet diet prioritizes whole grains and healthy fats, just like the Mediterranean diet, but is more plant-based and discourages animal protein more than other plans.

It is not designed for weight loss. Rather, the main goal is heart health, similar to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which aims to lower high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.

Harvard researchers found that people who followed the diet for 30 years had a 14 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke compared to people who followed a standard diet.

The authors published their findings in the AHA journal CirculationThis indicates that the leading heart health organization endorses the diet plan as a highly effective way to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Kristina Petersen, a nutritionist at Penn State University and co-author of last spring’s AHA statement, which rated 10 popular diets for their heart health benefits, said: ‘It’s not an all-or-nothing approach. You can follow your own diet and make some small changes and see the cardiovascular benefits.”

“We have to get the word out.”

The portfolio diet emphasizes many of the same foods as other popular eating plans such as DASH and the Mediterranean diet.

For example, the DASH diet is specifically aimed at lowering the risk of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure.

The plan recommends vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fatty fish, lean meats, beans and lentils, nuts and vegetable oils, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The goal is to reduce the amount of cholesterol- and sodium-rich foods, which have been shown to increase blood pressure and lead to a greater risk of heart disease and stroke.

Similarly, the Mediterranean diet also involves largely avoiding dairy, red meat and alcohol, while indulging in oily fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Dr. Carolyn Williams, registered dietitian and co-host of the Happy Eating podcast, told that these are all foods that are part of a basic healthy diet, and that adding another diet that is so similar to a normal, balanced meal plan can be confusing for consumers. .

“I feel like they’re just repackaging a healthy eating plan,” she said. ‘It is nothing else, for we know all these things.’

‘I think it creates confusion, and that’s never good. There is already a lot of confusion in the nutrition and diet world.’

One of the key tenets of the portfolio diet is eating more plant-based protein instead of red meat, chicken or fish, the latter two of which are staples in diets such as Mediterranean and DASH.

“There is a relationship between being vegan or vegetarian and better health and better heart health, but we don’t really know whether that benefit comes from eating less meat or more plants, or a combination of those,” said Mrs. Silver. .

‘It’s not realistic for everyone to become vegan or vegetarian, and I don’t think everyone needs to do so to benefit their health. I think a better message is ‘eat more plants’ rather than ‘eat less animals’.”

‘Eat a balanced variety of foods consistently throughout the day. Don’t make it too complicated.’