Portfolio Diet – could it be as effective as popping pills to reduce cholesterol? - HealthWatchMD

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Dr. Randy Martin: There is a growing body of evidence that suggests food may be one of the best protective measures for your heart. I met with Shayna Komar, a registered dietician at Piedmont Hospital's Cancer Wellness Center to learn more.

"There are four categories in the Portfolio Diet," says Shayna Komar, R.D., a dietician at Piedmont Hospital's Cancer Wellness Center. The categories include soy; soluble fiber, which fights bad cholesterol and can be found in vegetables, barley and oats; plant sterols, which can be found in some margarines, orange juice, granola bars and vegetables; and nuts, particularly almonds and walnuts.

In a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at three different groups of patients. They put the first group on an intense nutrition plan, says Komar.

"This group was supposed to follow a [strict] food plan, as well as participate in many nutrition sessions," she says.

The second group didn't have as many counseling sessions, but followed the exact same meal plan. The third group did not have to follow the Portfolio Plan. This group was just instructed to eat foods low in saturated fats.

Results from the Portfolio Diet study

"Everybody in the study lost weight," says Komar. "But the first group decreased their cholesterol by 13.8 percent, which is huge."

The Portfolio Diet is easy to follow at home, she says, because the recommended foods are easy to find at your local grocery store.

"There is power in food," says Komar. "You can go to the grocery store, get food and use it as 'medicine.'"

Dr. Randy Martin: Shayna has given us a lot of good information about the Portfolio Diet and it looks very promising. One word of caution: if you are on a statin, you may need to stay on it. Check with your doctor. However, if your cholesterol is just slightly elevated, the Portfolio Diet might be just the trick to lower bad LDL cholesterol.

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18 Oct, 2011

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