An overview of the TLC diet

Created by the National Institute of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet focuses on cutting cholesterol in a diet for improving the health of the heart. The TLC diet mainly includes eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, pasta, cereals, bread, and lean meat. So, how does a TLC diet work? Let us see below. One can set a target calorie level and can modify their TLC diet accordingly. If an individual’s concern is lowering the bad cholesterol, then the target calorie level is 2,500 for men and 1,800 for women. Gradually one can cut the count of saturated fat to less than 7% of calories consumed daily. Reducing saturated fat means giving up on butter and meat high in fatty levels, like salami. TLC diet keeps a check of dietary fat consumption per day. One needs to keep a check of his or her LDL levels and if it doesn’t reduce by 8-10%, then he/she can include 2 gm of sterols or plant stanols and 10-25 gm of soluble fiber in their diet. Stanols and fibers prevent absorption of LDL from the digestive tract, reducing the bad cholesterol levels. Stanols and sterols are also present in vegetable oil and margarine. Here are some tips can help while following a TLC diet:

  • It is preferable to keep the consumption of meat at low as possible. If possible, consume skinless chicken/ turkey and fish.
  • Two to three servings of non-fat or low-fat dairy products will be helpful.
  • Increasing vegetable and fruit intake will be beneficial. Consume a minimum of 4 servings of fruits and three to five serving of vegetables.
  • One can consume eleven servings of bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and other grains.
  • It is very important to stay hydrated while following a TLC diet. One must have a minimum of eight glasses of water daily. Other drinks include low-fat milk, green tea which is unsweetened, orange juice, iced tea and coffee with no sugar.

It might be a little tricky if one has to eat from a restaurant while following a TLC diet but one can eat smart even outside. Here are some of the things one can keep in mind while eating outside.

  • It’s preferable to go for a healthier mode of cooking like steamed, broiled, roasted, stir-fried, or baked.
  • It is best to consume fish or any kind of lean meat like chicken or turkey breast.
  • Pizzas can be ordered with extra veggies and reduced cheese.
  • It is best to order all the sauces, cheese or cream on the side so that one can control the consumption.
  • Let the diet include more of vegetables and very little fatty meat like salami.
  • Main meals can be consumed in the form of lean meats accompanying a salad.

The TLC diet has been proved to be a healthy diet since it offers a lot of cardiovascular benefits which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke and keeps a check of the glucose level in the body. However recent researches have shown that added sugars are to be blamed for an increase in cholesterol count than foods which are rich in cholesterol. For best results, it is always good to eat healthily and avoiding junk.