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Unpacking the Portfolio Diet

Focused on lowering cholesterol, the Portfolio Diet takes a unique approach to what you should and shouldn’t eat.

Like every dietary regimen, this one is involves avoiding certain food items and making healthier swaps when possible. And there are plenty of people who say that it works!

Whether you’re simply curious about the concept or you’re looking for a fresh approach to lower your cholesterol without relying on as many medications, looking into the Portfolio Diet could be a good idea.

The Portfolio Diet – What’s the Purpose?

Sometimes the word ‘diet’ gets a bad rap. But remember, not all diets are focused on cutting calories or fitting into a skinnier pair of jeans. This one, for example, has a very important goal that can dramatically improve health for some individuals. The entire focus of the Portfolio Diet is to harness the power of nutrition to reduce cholesterol naturally. High cholesterol can increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease, which may result in heart attack, stroke, or other issues with circulation. While medication may help reduce cholesterol for some, adopting a more natural approach – one that centers on an appropriate diet – can be more ideal.

How is the Portfolio Diet Different from Eating Heart-Healthy Foods?

You may be thinking – wait a minute, isn’t that the same old strategy of eating ‘heart-healthy’ foods? Well, yes and no. The difference with the Portfolio Diet is that researchers have identified certain foods that actively reduce low-density lipoproteins (or bad cholesterol). While a vegetarian, low-saturated-fat diet is commonly touted as heart-healthy, the Portfolio Diet actually zeros in on specific food items believed to actively lower cholesterol in the body. Think of it like getting extra credit on top of a perfect score.

So, what’s the secret? Here are 4 central guidelines that form the Portfolio Diet:

1. Swap meat for soy-based products.

Hot dogs and hamburgers, meet soy dogs and soy burgers. Meat is a major culprit when it comes to elevated cholesterol, but getting your protein is super important, too. Soy protein can help individuals meet their protein nutritional needs without relying on red meat.

2. Get lots of sticky fiber.

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gooey substance in your digestive tract – thus the nickname ‘sticky’ fiber. Though it sounds icky, this sticky goo actually helps things get processed correctly in the digestive tract by improving digestion, lowering cholesterol, and reducing spikes in blood sugar.

3. Swap butter/margarine for plant sterols.

Here we go again, swapping an animal product for a plant-based one! Research shows that plant sterols can reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol, making them a very helpful – and natural – compound to include in your diet. While plant sterols are available in capsule form as a supplement, many find it easier to include sterol-enriched margarine in their meals.

4. Go nuts.

Almonds have become the poster child of heart-healthy snacking, but walnuts, pistachios, and other tree nuts are great options, too.


The Portfolio Diet offers a dietary approach for naturally reducing cholesterol – providing lots of potential for folks who are ready to take ‘heart-healthy’ eating habits to the next level. While it’s focus is on eating soy, soluble fiber, nuts, and plant sterols, it also emphasized removing processed foods, refined carbs, and sugar from our diets (something that’s probably good for all of us!).

So even if the Portfolio diet doesn’t feel quite right for you, incorporating some of their guidelines can help all of us be more heart healthy!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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