Eating for cardiometabolic health | Andrea Glenn, PhD, RD

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In Episode #240, I’m joined by dietitian and postdoctoral research fellow Dr Andrea Glenn to examine how to eat for the best cardiometabolic health outcomes.

‘Nutrition is probably one of the top risk factors for [cardiovascular] diseases. It is the cornerstone of prevention and management of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.’

In recent episodes of The Proof, we’ve zoomed in on protein and the consequences of consuming – and not consuming – this macronutrient. Today, we take a step back from protein consumption and circle back to cardiometabolic health, building on prior conversations with the likes of Dr David Jenkins and other experts in the field. As another area of nutrition with significant online attention, this episode delves into the dietary patterns scientifically shown to optimise cardiometabolic health.

Dr Andrea Glenn is a registered dietitian and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Toronto. Her primary research focus has been on the portfolio diet and its role in cardiometabolic disease prevention and management, and she is currently researching the metabolomic signature of the portfolio diet. Having started her nutrition education journey 16 years ago and evolved to become a research dietitian, Dr Glenn brings a comprehensive and extremely well-educated perspective to this conversation.

‘We do have good evidence that a high saturated fat diet, long term, is not the best diet for cardiometabolic health.’

In Episode #240, we examine different dietary patterns that promise to include cardiometabolic health, including the DASH diet, portfolio diet, Nordic diet, and Mediterranean diet. What makes these diets “healthy”? Is there a singular, ultimate diet for cardiometabolic health, and does this come at a cost? Dr Glenn answers these questions and much more as we cover fibre and carbs, types of fat, and the most important decision you can make to improve your health outcomes.

Specifically, we discuss:

  • Intro (00:00)
  • Andrea Glenn on dietary patterns (07:31)
  • Which country has the best dietary guidelines today? (11:35)
  • What is cardiometabolic health? (13:15)
  • Similarities and differences between the DASH, Nordic, Mediterranean, and Portfolio Diets (16:31)
  • Can the Portfolio diet lower your risk of having a heart attack or stroke? (21:29)
  • The compositions of plant predominant diets and the demonization of carbohydrates (37:05)
  • Are DASH, Nordic, Mediterranean, and Portfolio diets good for preventing and managing diabetes? (44:32)
  • The worst and the best sources of fat (50:27)
  • Is the pro-metabolic diet legitimate? (54:19)
  • Is canola oil healthy? And is it better than olive oil? (01:03:39)
  • The effects of protein according to studies (1:11:05)
  • What are plant sterols? (1:17:20)
  • Plant predominant versus plant exclusive (1:22:36)

I hope you found this deep dive into dietary patterns informative and actionable. There’s no doubt that Dr Glenn offers a clear and evidence-based perspective, with an important message that everyone can implement into their own lifestyle. I look forward to exploring cardiometabolic health further.

To stay in the loop with Dr Andrea Glenn, you can connect with her on Twitter. Learn more about Dr Glenn and read her research papers here.

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Enjoy, friends.


More about Andrea Glenn, PhD

Dr. Andrea Glenn is a Registered Dietitian and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. Her primary research focus has been on the portfolio diet, a plant-based dietary pattern of established cholesterol-lowering foods, and its role in cardiometabolic disease prevention and management. Current pursuits also include characterizing a metabolomic signature of the portfolio diet. She has vast experience in nutrition research (nutritional epidemiology and randomized controlled trials), teaching, and knowledge translation on dietary patterns, the glycemic index and cardiometabolic disease.

Supporting studies

  • A randomized crossover trial on the effect of plant-based compared with animal-based meat on trimethylamine-N-oxide and cardiovascular disease risk factors in generally healthy adults: Study With Appetizing Plantfood-Meat Eating Alternative Trial (SWAP-MEAT) • PMID: 32780794
  • Association between plant-based diets and plasma lipids: a systematic review and meta-analysis • PMID: 28938794
  • Association of Changes in Diet Quality with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality • PMID: 28700845
  • Cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber: a meta-analysis • PMID: 9925120
  • DASH Dietary Pattern and Cardiometabolic Outcomes: An Umbrella Review of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses • PMID: 30764511
  • Diabetes Canada Position Statement on Low-Carbohydrate Diets for Adults With Diabetes: A Rapid Review • PMID: 32475469
  • Dietary Patterns and Cardiometabolic Outcomes in Diabetes: A Summary of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses • PMID: 31540227
  • Dietary Protein Sources, Mediating Biomarkers, and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: Findings From the Women’s Health Initiative and the UK Biobank • PMID: 35713602
  • Effect of dietary pulses on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials • PMID: 24014659
  • Effect of low glycaemic index or load dietary patterns on glycaemic control and cardiometabolic risk factors in diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials • PMID: 34348965
  • Effect of Plant Protein on Blood Lipids: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials • PMID: 29263032
  • Effect of Replacing Animal Protein with Plant Protein on Glycemic Control in Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials • PMID: 26633472
  • Effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods vs lovastatin on serum lipids and C-reactive protein • PMID: 12876093
  • Effects of saturated fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins: a systematic review and regression analysis • World Health Organisation
  • LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect of plant sterols and stanols across different dose ranges: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies • PMID: 24780090
  • Low-carbohydrate vegan diets in diabetes for weight loss and sustainability: a randomized controlled trial • PMID: 36156115
  • Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Red Meat Consumption in Comparison With Various Comparison Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors • PMID: 30958719
  • Nordic dietary patterns and cardiometabolic outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies and randomised controlled trials • PMID: 36008559
  • Portfolio Dietary Pattern and Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Controlled Trials • PMID: 29807048
  • Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented with Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts • PMID: 29897866
  • Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease • PMID: 26068959
  • Relationship Between a Plant-Based Dietary Portfolio and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Findings From the Women’s Health Initiative Prospective Cohort Study • PMID: 34346245
  • Replacement of Red and Processed Meat With Other Food Sources of Protein and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in European Populations: The EPIC-InterAct Study • PMID: 32868270
  • Replacing the consumption of red meat with other major dietary protein sources and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study • PMID: 33094800
  • Soy protein reduces serum cholesterol by both intrinsic and food displacement mechanisms • PMID: 20943954
  • The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate (“Eco-Atkins”) diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects • PMID: 19506174
  • The effects of Canola oil on cardiovascular risk factors: A systematic review and meta-analysis with dose-response analysis of controlled clinical trials • PMID: 33127255
  • The Portfolio Diet and Incident Type 2 Diabetes: Findings From the Women’s Health Initiative Prospective Cohort Study • PMID: 36162007

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