In a recent study, researchers from the University of Toronto found that the portfolio diet, a plant-based way of eating, could reduce many risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
The Portfolio dietary pattern is a plant-based dietary pattern that combines recognized cholesterol-lowering foods (nuts, plant protein, viscous fiber, plant sterols).
In the current study, the researchers aimed to update the European Association for the Study of Diabetes clinical practice guidelines for nutrition therapy.
They conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies about the effect of the Portfolio dietary pattern on cardiovascular disease prevention.
The team included controlled trials longer than 3-weeks assessing the effect of the Portfolio dietary pattern on cardiometabolic risk factors. The studies involved more than 400 patients.
They found that the portfolio dietary pattern strongly reduced LDL cholesterol by 17%.
The portfolio pattern also reduced non-HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B, total cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, C-reactive protein, an estimated 10-year coronary heart disease risk.
The diet pattern did not change HDL cholesterol or body weight.
The researchers conclude that the Portfolio dietary pattern leads to clinically meaningful improvements in LDL cholesterol to help prevent cardiovascular disease.
They suggest that people with high heart disease risk should keep a plant-based diet.
Adherence to the diet can be challenging for some patients, but adding just a few more plant-based foods could offer noticeable benefits.
Some patients also choose the portfolio diet for ethical and environmental reasons.
For example, plant-based diets generally have a smaller eco-footprint than standard Western diets.
They may also choose a plant diet to prevent other future health problems.
John Sievenpiper, an associate professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at U of T and a staff physician and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, is one researcher.
David Jenkins, a professor in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine at U of T who holds a Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism, developed the portfolio diet in the early 2000s.
The study is published in Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.
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Journal reference: Laura Chiavaroli et al, Portfolio Dietary Pattern and Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials, Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.pcad.2018.05.004.