Portfolio Diet: Recipe for Lower Cholesterol
For lower cholesterol, fit 4 cholesterol-fighting foods into your diet portfolio.
Does the Portfolio Diet Work? continued...
To find out, they signed up people who said they wanted lower cholesterol.
They told them what to eat and gave them sample menus -- but they didn't
provide any prepared foods.
"Just about a third of them get very good results, with better than a
20% reduction in the 'bad' LDL cholesterol after six months," Jenkins says.
"Those results are constant from two weeks to six months. So after two
weeks you can say, 'These are the people who are likely to stay the
Another 31% of participants had about a 15% reduction in LDL cholesterol
with the portfolio diet. But 35% of participants failed to lower their
cholesterol, probably because they weren't able to follow the portfolio
"Most people complied with the advice to eat almonds and to substitute
plant sterol products for margarine," Jenkins said. "But fewer people
were able to use soy milk and soy dogs and tofu instead of meat and dairy.
Having said that, people who were fairly robust at being able to whip up
something at home tended to do best. Those who relied on packaged goods or had
to eat out a lot had more of a problem."
Is the Portfolio Diet Right for You?
Should you be on the portfolio diet? Most people who want to lower their
cholesterol are worried about their heart health. So WebMD turned to Richard
Milani, MD, director of the cardiovascular health center at Ochsner Clinic, New
"If your goal is cholesterol reduction, this is a very adequate
plan," Milani says. "If your goal is weight reduction, this may not be
it. If your goal is reducing your risk of heart attack, the Mediterranean diet
may be better -- although plant sterols and nuts are part of the Mediterranean
But Milani is quick to note that the foods in the portfolio diet can be
added to almost any healthy diet.
"What Jenkins and colleagues are saying is you can take these components
and put them in any diet," Milani says. "It can be done --
inexpensively -- to get people's cholesterol under control."
Jenkins notes that cholesterol-lowering drugs have more side effects at high
doses. He therefore suggests that the foods in the portfolio diet may help
people get the most out of these drugs -- without increasing the dosage.