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.