High cholesterol is found in a large number of adults. Certain drugs act on it and can reduce the levels. But lifestyle changes and dietetic changes also benefit the patient a lot. The diet specifically designed for such patients with high cholesterol levels is the TLC diet.
The TLC diet
The TLC in TLC diet stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle changes. This is a diet that targets the high cholesterol levels of blood. Nearly 40% of adults suffer from high blood cholesterol levels or hypercholesterolemia. These high levels are due to various factors including genetic, dietetic, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise etc. It could lead to atherosclerosis, heart diseases, stroke, and clot formation in various parts of the body.
To avoid the various diseases it can cause, it is essential to get the blood cholesterol levels under control. This is where the TLC diet helps. It involves major and healthy changes of one’s lifestyle. This is in order to improve health and prevent premature deaths. The National Institutes of Health has created this diet. And it is in the top list of best diets for overall health. It is ranked as heart-friendly diet too.
Foods in the diet
This diet focuses on and urges people to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, skimmed or low fat milk and milk products, fish, and skinless poultry. But it advises people to limit the intake of other lean meat.
It is a very specific diet that prescribes people to have a specific amount of servings from each food group.
The guidelines state:
6 servings per day of whole grains
3–5 servings per day of vegetables and beans or peas
2–4 servings per day of fruits
2–3 servings per day of low fat milk, and
5 or fewer ounces (oz) per day of fish or meat.
Moreover, sodium intake should be less than 2300 mg in a day. And there should be 2 or less alcoholic drink in a day for men and 1 or less in case of women. Saturated fat should not give more than 7% of daily total calories. One has to lessen dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg in a day. Dietary fiber should be 5 to 10 grams per day.
For weight loss, men should reduce daily calories to 1600 from 2500 calories. And women should bring it down to 1200 from 1800 calories. Dietitian Jill Weisenberger, says:
“There are several types of saturated fats in food, and not all are the same,”
“We don’t have an easy way of looking at our food and determining what type of saturated fat is within, so we take the viewpoint that if you lower all of them, you also lower the harmful ones.”
It lowers risk of cardiovascular accidents. Felicia Stoler, nutritionist from New Jersey says:
“Heart disease is still the number one killer in the United States,”
“Cholesterol is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease. With dietary and physical activity interventions, you can work really hard to reduce it,”
But this diet is supplementary with other modes of treatment in high cholesterol patients. Jill adds:
“The TLC diet is a generally healthy diet, not just for your cholesterol, but the plant-based plan is also good for diabetes and cancer prevention, and possibly for blood pressure,”
Patient studies found that the diet benefited around 75% of the recruits. It lowered blood sugar levels too. But the diet needs counting and this could be tedious. Jill explains:
“The idea of having to count grams of fat and calories long-term is very tedious and an enormous turnoff for some people,”
It would require home cooking and eating out might not be possible on this diet.