TLC Diet – Your Key to a Healthy Lifestyle

Categories: TLC diet
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Published on: September 29, 2012

What is TLC diet?

To effectively lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the National Institutes of Health has come up with a diet plan known as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet endorsed by the American Heart Association. This diet is intended for lowering the risk of heart disease, and involves diet along with healthy changes in lifestyle.

TLC diet does not primarily target weight-loss; instead, it is for maintaining an ideal body weight and determining the ideal daily calorie intake. TLC diet is based on a few basic guidelines as mentioned below:

  • Intake of saturated fat should be kept below 7 percent of the total calorie intake
  • Daily cholesterol intake should be kept below 200 milligrams
  • Sodium intake must be limited to 2400 mg per day
  • 25-35% of daily total calories should come from fat intake
  • Calorie intake should be kept to a level needed for maintaining healthy weight
  • Physical activity must be maintained regularly along with the diet, i.e. at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

How does it Work?

TLC diet aims to lower the saturated fats in your diet, which in turn lowers your cholesterol level. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and increase our cholesterol levels. With this diet, you can replace the saturated fats in your body with unsaturated fats, which are much healthier.

Pros & Cons of TLC Diet


  • This diet is simple, straightforward and easy to follow.


  • It is healthy and brings about positive changes in lifestyle, as it helps in lowering cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.


  • TLC diet educates people to read their food labels and thus know what they are eating.


  • As mentioned before, TLC diet is not designed for losing weight, but for lowering cholesterol levels. Thus, it is not entirely suitable for people seeking to shed weight, even though it does result in weight-loss to some extent. However, it should not be taken primarily for this purpose.


  • When on this diet, you are completely on your own and need to follow all the instructions by learning to read nutrition labels, as well as calculate the percentage of saturated fats in different foods you consume. This makes it difficult to follow this diet.


  • If you are following TLC diet for health concerns (i.e. lower your cholesterol levels) then it is not the only thing that might help. You may still need to take other cholesterol-lowering drugs or medications for effective results.

TLC Diet- Tender Loving Care for the Heart!

Categories: TLC diet
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Published on: September 29, 2012

The TLC diet was created by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program and endorsed by the American Heart Association as one of the most heart-healthy diets. So what does this diet has to offer? Well to begin with, it is all about drastically reducing fat from your diet, particularly bad, saturated fat. Saturated fat is what increases bad cholesterol in your system, which in turn doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke. But that’s not all; the TLC diet also increases the intake of fiber in your diet, which absorbs whatever bad cholesterol is in your body and that too without medication.

How does it work?

So let’s get started on the TLC diet. First and foremost, you need to decide what your goals are; losing weight or managing cholesterol?  If managing cholesterol is what you want, then your calorie intake according to the TLC diet should be 2,500 calories/day for men and 1,800 for women. However, if its weight and inches you are trying to trim, then 1,600 calories/day for men and 1,200 for women are ideal. This will be achieved by cutting down on saturated fat to less than 7 percent /day. This means, limited amounts of high-fat dairy like butter, and fatty meats like salami. The goal is to limit your daily intake of dietary cholesterol to just 200 milligrams/day.

With this regime, if you haven’t been able to reduce your LDL cholesterol by 8 to 10 percent, start taking 2 grams of plant stanols or sterols with 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber daily. Soluble fiber along with plant stanols and sterols stop cholesterol from being absorbed into your blood stream. TLC diet includes: lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, fish, and skin-off poultry. Just how you include them in your daily diet is entirely up to you.

But what about weight loss?

Since the TLC diet was created specifically to target cholesterol levels and not weight loss, its success with weight loss has never really been researched. But, patient’s feedback identifies that a low-fat diet tends to promote weight loss anyways.

Does it really protect the heart?

The TLC diet has had great success against cardiovascular disease and has even been helpful in managing diabetes. It is no wonder that the TLC diet is called the heart-healthy diet since its focus on eating fruits, veggies, whole grains and little or no saturated fat and salt is considered to be the best defense against cholesterol, blood pressure and heart disease.

In fact, according to a research printed in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis recently, the TLC diet was found to significantly lower the fasting insulin levels of patients with high cholesterol. This is of great significance since high levels of insulin are a sign of whether someone will develop type 2 diabetes. Experts now think that a diet like TLC helps manage diabetes best due to its emphasis on eating the right foods.

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