Made-In-Canada Healthy Choices

By / Magazine / December 7th, 2011 / 4

Financial portfolios are not the only portfolios that yield a return on investment, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the Portfolio Eating Plan. The diet, developed by University of Toronto researchers, Dr. David Jenkins and Dr. Cyril Kendall, was so named because it includes a variety of heart-healthy foods. At the risk of suggesting that there’s a magic pill to achieving a healthy lifestyle (there isn’t), the study does focus on nuts as an almost perfect food, kind of like an egg, because they may help to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol more effectively than a diet low in saturated fat alone. Almonds, for instance, deliver 3.5 grams of fibre, 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat per one-ounce serving.

This study is the fifth instalment in a series of studies confirming the ability of the PEP to help people maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. Distinct from previous Portfolio Eating Plan studies, it found that this diet provides health benefits irrelevant of the amount of nutrition counselling, which indicates that individuals were able to successfully follow and see positive results from the Portfolio Eating Plan without intensive dietary counselling. No more monthly meetings! The current study builds on more than a decade of previous research to show that incorporating nuts in the diet along with other known cholesterol-lowering foods is the key to health.

The study tested the effect of one of three diets in 345 men and women with high cholesterol levels over a six-month period. The participants were randomly assigned to either a low-saturated fat therapeutic diet, which acted as the control, a routine portfolio diet or an intensive portfolio diet. The portfolio diet emphasized plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibres and nuts. Both the low-saturated fat therapeutic control diet and the routine portfolio diet involved two dietary counselling visits over the 6 month period and the intensive portfolio diet involved seven counselling visits over the six month period. The study found that the participants following the portfolio diets experienced a greater reduction in “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels compared to those following the low-saturated fat diet.


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