The TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet was developed in 2001 in the USA by the National Cholesterol Education Program.
It was designed with the aim of helping people lower cholesterol levels and therefore reduce the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases.
It is a program that involves diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes in order to enhance better health.
TLC is also endorsed by the American Heart Association.
These diets contain significantly less fat than the government’s recommended limit and are known to be heart-healthy approaches.
Is the TLC Diet for you
Whether the TLC diet is easy to follow depends on your knack for tracking what you eat.
It’s up to you, for example, to ensure that no more than 7% of your daily calories come from saturated fat, and that you don’t exceed 200 milligrams of daily cholesterol from food.
The TLC diet isn’t the greatest when it comes to convenience.
The TLC diet takes work and a certain aptitude for reading nutrition labels.
Aside from an 80-page manual available online – called “Your Guide To Lowering Your Cholesterol With TLC” – there are few resources to help you along.
If you have a medical condition, take medications or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s always best to check with your physician and/or a registered dietitian to make sure the TLC diet is right for you.
How to Follow TLC Diet:
The TLC diet may look complicated at first, but it is actually not.
The diet prescribes the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fishes, skinless poultry and low fat dairy products.
Try to start with the meat and beans group first and then move on to different groups.
1. Meat and beans:
The meat group comprises of fish, dry peas, beans, and poultry. Skinless chicken, veal, fish are some healthy options. Do not eat more than two servings a day. The serving size should be about the size of a playing card. You can substitute 1/4th cup of dry beans with 1 ounce of lean meat.
Do not consume more than two yolks a week.
Dairy should preferably comprise of low fat milk and dairy products. Aim to consume 2 to 3 servings a day. The servings can include 1 cup of fat-free milk, 1 cup of Greek yogurt and 1 ounce of low fat cheese.
Aim to eat 2 to 4 servings of fruits a day. The servings should include one medium-sized fruit like apple, orange or banana, ½ cup of canned fruit, 1 cup of berries and 1/4th cup of fruit juice without added sugar.
You should eat at least 3 to 5 servings of vegetables. You can include 1 cup of raw leafy greens, ½ cup of raw vegetables, and 1/4th cup of vegetable juice.
Grains include cereals, breads, rice, pasta and other grains. Aim to eat at least six servings a day. The servings should include one slice of bread, 1 ounce of cold cereal, ½ cup of cooked pasta or rice noodles and ½ muffins.
7. Sweets and snacks:
The sweet and salt intake should be within the calorie limit. Choose snacks that are low in fat and are prepared with unsaturated fat. Avoid consuming junk and processed foods.
The TLC diet recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity and exercise. You should do 30 minutes of brisk walking every day. Increased physical activity reduces the risk of diabetes and heart diseases. It also prevents obesity and increases the energy levels.
A One-Day Menu to Kickstart the TLC Diet
If you want to follow the TLC diet, the American College of Cardiology provides the following sample menu to get you started.
- 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 banana
- Fat-free latte
- Sandwich made from 2 slices whole-wheat bread, 2 ounces lean turkey, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato
- 1 cup carrot sticks
- 1 apple
- 1 cup low-fat or nonfat vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup mixed raisins and peanuts
- 3 ounces baked or broiled salmon
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked broccoli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (used in cooking)
- Salad made with 1½ cups romaine lettuce, ½ cup tomatoes, ¼ cucumber, 1 tablespoon vinegar and oil dressing
- 1 slice Italian bread with 1 teaspoon soft margarine
- 1 sliced peach with 1 cup fat-free milk
Conformity to accepted dietary guidelines
The TLC diet conforms to all dietary guidelines for all categories of foods including fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and salt.
It also conforms to dietary guidelines for other key nutrients including fiber, potassium, calcium, Vitamin B-12, and Vitamin D.
Tips for success on the TLC diet
- Focus on eating larger portions of low-calorie foods. Sometimes it’s not the amount of food on your plate, but the quality of that food, that makes all the difference. Fruits and vegetables, many grains, and chicken or fish seasoned with herbs and spices are all examples of foods you can eat in full portions without going over your daily calorie limit.
- Drink water. When you start counting calories, you will notice that drinks tack on hundreds of calories to your daily total. It’s okay to treat yourself every once in awhile, but when you can, swap out a high-sugar, high-calorie drink for plain water.
- Eat high-fiber foods when you get hungry. These foods tend to fall under the nutrient-dense category, which means they are extremely nutritious but very low in calories.
When it comes to healthy eating, the TLC diet touches on many of the pain points people deal with in everyday life.
While improving your total cholesterol and decreasing your disease risk, a healthy diet and regular exercise also promotes weight loss.
Though there are guidelines, they’re fairly straightforward.
As long as you’re willing to trade a high-fat diet for something much healthier, you will see results.
In the long term, you’re increasing your chances of living a much longer, happier life.
Hopefully that’s worth giving up steak in favor of beans, bread, and greens.
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This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.