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.