January 14, 2019 6 min read

The National Cholesterol Education Program by the National Institute of Health highly recommends going on this particular diet because it’s known to greatly reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in our body. It’s also a diet that’s helpful in achieving weight loss and in effecting a healthier lifestyle. What diet is this? It’s the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet.

What Is The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet?

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change Diet, also known as the TLC diet, is a diet that focuses on the reduction of bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein or LDL, in the body as it can cause a plethora of heart-related diseases. The diet intends to develop an eating pattern that includes a good ratio of food that optimizes the good cholesterol in the body, while at the same time including more fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. The diet does not encourage starving the body; rather, it encourages a healthy eating pattern that keeps the body feeling full while being mindful of your caloric intake based on your height, weight, and overall physical activity.

The diet is primarily intended for those who have had a history of heart-related diseases, and those who are predisposed to cardiovascular diseases. This diet is also great for those who would like to ensure that they would not have to contend with the possibility of having any heart-related diseases and would like to live a healthier lifestyle.

The TLC diet is highly recommended for those who have a predisposition for cardiovascular diseases

The TLC Diet Guidelines

When following this diet, the most imprtant thing to keep in mind is to know the value of the food that you are eating and to keep in mind your goal which is to revitalize your cardiovascular system and to allow yourself to get used to the lifestyle and eating pattern changes that come with the diet. The diet also requires that you reduce your sodium intake, to opt for whole grain products, and to do moderate intensity workout activities for at least 30 minutes a day in order to jumpstart the body and get it on the right track.

  • Avoid food that are high in saturated fat such as poultry skin, processed meats, and full fat dairy products. Trans fat consumption from highly processed products that contain hydrogenated oil such as margarine, shortening, and most pre-packed snack items should be avoided. These two types of dietary fat not only increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, they also decrease the levels of good cholesterol that we have. Not only that, saturated fat is also known to cause type II diabetes because saturated fat can induce insulin intolerance in the body.

  • Sodium should also be kept to a minimum, with most of the sodium being added in the cooking process and not on the dinner table. Sodium increases the fluid retention in your body and can therefore affect your body’s blood pressure which becomes a burden to your heart. This is the reason why bland food is highly recommended for those who are suffering from heart-related diseases. While a daily intake of 2.4 g of sodium may be allowed per day for those following a 2,000 calorie diet, it is still best to limit the intake of sodium even more. Reading food package labels and ingredients list and avoiding processed food items is one of the best ways of avoiding sodium in your daily diet.

With this diet, deep fried food should not be part of your menu

Salt induces fluid retention which can increase blood pressure

Regular workouts can help maintain cholesterol levels

  • Increasing Physical Activity is a great way of lowering the body’s cholesterol levels, and it also helps to reduce weight in order to relieve the heart of pressure, to reduce body fat, and to experience an overall health improvement. Being overweight increases your body’s LDL levels, and doing or not doing physical activities does affect the movement of your body’s LDL. Doing a 30 minute workout each day is a good way to start getting more physical activity into your daily routine.

  • Reducing Stressis another way of lowering LDL in your body. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline which triggers an increase in triglycerides in your body. Triglycerides are fat found in your blood which you can use as a source of energy in between meals. However, an increase in triglycerides can also increase LDL levels in your body which can then result to heart-related diseases if left unchecked. A great way of reducing stress is through the practice ofyoga which not only allows you to include more physical activity in your body, but also helps you to relax and release some of the tension that you feel that is a result of or that can result to stress.

Stress management is crucial in preventing cardiovascular diseases from developing

Quitting your smoking habit may be difficult but your body will thank you for it.

  • Quit Smoking.While it may take a while for you to fully quit smoking, it will help for you to know that smoking not only damages your lungs, it also damages your heart and blood vessels. Smoking may cause the LDL in your body to not only increase, but it can also cause it to promote the buildup of plaque within your arteries. A few ways of helping you in your process of quitting is by eating healthy food, being more physically active, and reducing stress because stress is one factor that triggers nicotine craving.

What To Eat While On TLC

  • Lean Meatfrom fishes such as cod, or the white meat in poultry with the skin removed is a great way of meeting the body’s protein needs. Limit the intake of meat to less than 140g per day, and consider usingplant-based meat substitutes for your meals. You should go for meat that has low levels of saturated fat and avoid frying your meat, or your food in general, in oil.

  • Fruits and Vegetablesare high in soluble fiber which is incredibly helpful in reducing the LDL in your body and also reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your body.Eating your fruits and vegetables raw also helps in ensuring that your body receives the full measure of nutrients that you can derive from your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. It is highly recommended that you eat at least three to five servings of fruits and vegetables separately per day, and to make them your top of mind choice for when you’re feeling hungry.

Avoid frying your food and opt for the leaner cuts of meat

Increasing your fruit and vegetables intake can help reduce cholesterol absoprtion in the body

Olive oil is one of the healthiest oils you can include in your diet

  • Healthy Fat and Oilderived from sources that are high in unsaturated fat such as avocado, olives, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils like canola and soybean oil, are welcome in the diet so long as they are kept at a minimum. Fat is needed by the body to provide energy in between meals and for cellular growth. It also helps in nutrient absorption and in keeping some of your body functions working well which is why some level of fat is still necessary in your diet. Opting for the good choices of fat is the only way to go when following the TLC diet.

Should You Go For It?

The diet is not as rigorous as other diet plans, and it is known to provide amazing results when it comes to the improvement of your cardiovascular health and in promoting an overall healthier lifestyle. Knowing how to read food labels and choosing to make your own food is essential in making the diet successful as it makes you aware of what you eat and the value of eating well.

The diet, though primarily made for those who are at risk of heart-related diseases, is a good choice for those looking to improve on their lifestyle choices and in shifting to better eating patterns. It may take a while to shift to the diet completely but one thing is for sure, it will definitely be worth it.