Researchers have hailed the new diet as a ‘silver bullet’ for heart health, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
The diet portfolio, created by scientists at Harvard University, consists of cholesterol-lowering foods such as whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables and plant-based proteins.
A study of more than 210,000 healthcare workers found that over 30 years, participants had a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
The Portfolio Diet has been endorsed by the American Heart Association (AHA), and the organization has urged, ‘We need to get the word out.’
Much like diversifying a stock portfolio with different promising investments, a ‘portfolio diet’ involves incorporating different healthy eating patterns together.
However, dietitians said the portfolio diet is no different from better-supported plans such as the Mediterranean, DASH and MIND diets, and that promoting yet another diet filled with buzzwords is confusing consumers.
The portfolio diet prioritizes plant-based proteins, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts
Dietitians told DailyMail.com that portfolio diets are no different from basic healthy eating and are creating confusion among consumers
Laura Silver, registered dietitian and founder of Silver Street Nutrition in New York, told DailyMail.com: “This is not so different from everything else. It’s just a new name for a new diet that’s kind of the same.’
“It doesn’t seem like there’s really anything particularly unique here.”
Diet portfolioit prioritizes whole grains and healthy fats, similar to the Mediterranean diet, but is more plant-based and discourages animal protein more than other plans.
Not designed for weight loss. Instead, its main goal is heart health, similar to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH), which aims to reduce 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 on a standard diet.
The authors published their findings in the AHA journal Circulation, signaling that the preeminent heart health organization supports the diet plan as a highly effective way to prevent cardiovascular disorders.
Dr. Kristina Petersen, a nutrition expert at Penn State University who co-authored last spring’s AHA statement ranking 10 popular diets for their heart-healthy benefits, said:It is not an all or nothing approach. You can take your diet and make a few small changes and see cardiovascular benefits.’
“We have to get the word out.”
The portfolio diet emphasizes many of the same foods as other popular diet plans such as DASH and the Mediterranean diet.
The DASH diet, for example, is specifically aimed at reducing 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 foods that contain cholesterol and sodium, which have been shown to raise blood pressure and lead to a greater chance of heart disease and stroke.
Similarly, the Mediterranean diet also involves largely avoiding dairy products, red meat and alcohol, while consuming fatty fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.
Dr. Carolyn Williams, registered dietitian and co-host of the Happy Eating podcast, told DailyMail.com that these are all foods in a basic healthy diet, and adding another diet that is so similar to a regular balanced meal plan can be confusing for consumers.
“I feel like they’re just repackaging the healthy eating plan,” she said. ‘It’s no different because we knew all those things.’
“I think it creates confusion, which is never good.” We already have a ton of confusion in the world of food and nutrition.’
One of the main tenets of the portfolio diet is to eat more plant-based protein rather than red meat, chicken or fish, the latter two of which are staples in diets like the Mediterranean and DASH.
“There is an association of being vegan or vegetarian with better health and better heart health, but we don’t really know if that benefit comes from eating less meat or more plants, or some combination of the two,” Ms Silver said. .
“It’s not realistic for everyone to become vegan or vegetarian, nor do I think everyone needs it to benefit their health.” I think the better messaging 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.’
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