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TLC Diet: Every Thing You Should Know About this Diet

TLC stands for the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes that include three diet programs, physical activity, weight management, and medication if needed to lower the cholesterol level. We will explain the TLC diet plan and everything you should know about the TLC diet plan for you in this article:

The TLC diet suggests people eat the following foods:
♦ Fruits
♦ Vegetables
♦ Whole grains
♦ Fish
♦ Skinless chicken
♦ Lean meats in moderate amounts
♦ Low fat or nonfat dairy products

One of the treatments for high LDL cholesterol is the TLC diet program. (1) Following the TLC diet will assure that you need the lowest necessary dose of lowering cholesterol drugs.
Three programs of TLC are:
1. Diet plan
2. Physical activity
3. Weight management

TLC program is based on a step-by-step approach to help the patient make it easier and perform better.
The medical treatments and drugs for lowering cholesterol:
♦ Statins such as:
♦ Ezetimibe
♦ Bile and resins
♦ Nicotinic acid
♦ Fibrates

TLC plan is a program that includes diet, physical activity, and weight management. In some cases, medication is needed. TLC plan is designed to reduce lipid factors include cholesterol and TG.

How Can We Control the LDL Cholesterol Level by the TLC Diet?

The amount of LDL cholesterol that a body makes is affected by the gens. (2) The Blood cholesterol level will rise around age 20, and this can continue till the 60-65 age. Weight, physical activity, and diet are three factors that every person should control. The lifestyle changes will help them in this way.
Reducing triglycerides can be controlled by weight, physical activity, limiting alcohol, and simple sugar intakes, especially sugar-sweetened beverages.

How Effective Is the TLC Diet?

TLC program and the estimates to find out how it can be beneficial. The TLC program can decrease the saturated fats to less than 7% of calories. It can lead to an 8-10 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol level. (3)
TLC program can decrease the dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day, leading to 3-5% LDL reduction.
People may lose weight about 10 pounds if they are suffering from obesity or being overweight. Losing weight can reduce the LDL cholesterol level by about 5-8%.
Soluble fiber will be added to the diet during the TLC program about 5-10 grams per day. It will reduce 3-55 of the LDL cholesterol level.
Two grams of plant sterols or stanols will be added to the TLC program diet that it can decrease 5-10% of LDL cholesterol.
TLC diet can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by about 20-30%.
You have to note that the number of LDL reduction from TLC compares with the cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Following a heart-healthy diet is the initial step of the TLC program. After that, you need to be physically active and attend to aerobic and high functional exercises. Besides, you have to limit other risk factors that increase heart diseases such as smoking and high blood pressure. (4)
Reviewing your progress by following the TLC diet and program and continuing it under your dietitian's control can better help you know your strengths and weaknesses.

TLC diet reduces LDL cholesterol levels by decreasing saturated fat, increasing dietary fiber, and physical activity. TLC diet can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by about 20-30%.

TLC Diet Phases

First (6 weeks)

The doctor visits and gets the diet plan from a nutritionist to reduce the saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol intake. Getting an exercise plan and becoming more active. Adding more fiber and fiber-rich foods to the diet by the dietitians. Due to obesity or being overweight, getting a weight-loss diet plan and reducing the calorie intake.

The second (6 weeks)

Doctor visit and checking the lipid profile and offering more dietary recommendations, if it is needed. More reduction in bad fats, adding plant stanols/sterols, and adding more soluble fibers to the diet.

Third (4-6 months)

Doctor visit, check the lipid profile, compare the LDL cholesterol level with past tests, and consider the LDL lowering drug treatments under doctor prescriptions. Patients should pay attention to metabolic syndrome, weight management, and physical activity.

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TLC Diet

What we eat affects blood cholesterol levels. A heart-healthy eating plan that is low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol is excellent. Dietitians calculate the number of each fat and lipid, and their intake should be observed perfectly.
Less than 7 percent of daily calories have to be from saturated fats, less than 200 mg per day from cholesterol, 25-35 % of daily calories from total fat, and saturated fat calories. There are some optional approaches to lower the LDL cholesterol, such as using 2 grams of plant stanols or sterols and 10-25 grams of soluble fiber.
Dietitians will decide and calculate the exact need for calories to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight.

Foods High in Saturated Fats for TLC Diet:

♦ Animal foods
♦ Fatty cuts of meats
♦ Poultry with skin
♦ Whole milk dairy products
♦ Lard
♦ Some vegetable oils such as coconut oils and palm oils

You can see the Table of the proper amount of saturated fat that is equal to 6 percent of total calories needed for each calorie a day in the TLC diet below:

TLC Diet’s Proper Amount of Saturated Fat

Foods With Unsaturated Fats for Your TLC Diet

♦ Vegetable oils
♦ Olives
♦ Nuts
♦ Avocados
♦ Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna
♦ Canola
♦ Sunflower
♦ Peanut oils

Know Foods with Trans Fats for Your TLC Diet

Mostly they are in hydrogenated foods like hydrogenated vegetable oils that are made of added hydrogen to unsaturated fats. Trans fatty acids are available in animal fats, dairy products, stick and hard margarine, crackers, cookies, doughnuts, bread, fried foods in hydrogenated oils and shortenings (French fries, chicken), and some meats. Nowadays, some margarine is free of trans fats.

Know Foods with Cholesterol for Your TLC Diet

The cholesterol in the diet raises the cholesterol level in the blood. Still, it does not affect it as much as saturated fats. But it is evident that foods high in saturated fats are also high in cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol sources are animal origins like liver and other organ meats like yolks, shrimps, whole milk dairy products especially butter, cream, and cheese. The dietary cholesterol intake should be less than 200 milligrams a day.

Fiber-Rich Foods for Your TLC Diet

♦ Hot or cold cereals like oatmeal and oat bran that include 3-4 grams of fiber per serving
♦ Barley
♦ Psyllium seeds
♦ Broccoli
♦ Brussels sprouts
♦ Carrots
♦ Banana
♦ Peach
♦ Apple

♦ Blackberries
♦ Citrus
♦ Nectarine
♦ Pear
♦ Prunes
♦ Plum
♦ Berries
♦ Black bean
♦ Kidney bean
♦ White bean

♦ Pinto bean
♦ Lima beans
♦ Navy beans
♦ Northern beans
♦ Chickpeas
♦ Black-eyed peas
♦ Lentils
♦ Tofu
♦ Miso
♦ Eating the whole food rather than their juices

Know the Plant Stanols and Sterols for Your TLC Diet

Many plants and those used in foods are from soybeans and pine-tree oils combined with some canola oil. The plant Stanol and Sterols help block the absorption of cholesterol from gastrointestinal tracts, leading to lowering the LDL level. (5) The Stanol and Sterols do not have any effect on HDL level and triglycerides. You have to talk to your dietitians about the foods containing Stanols and Sterols and their calories because they are not calorie-free. The calorie intake should be observed correctly.

Know Foods With Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Your TLC Diet

♦ Fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel (two meals every week)
♦ Walnuts
♦ Canola
♦ Soybean oils
♦ Flaxseed

Reduce Alcohol for a Better TLC Diet Outcome

Drinking too much alcohol has some critical consequences. It can lead to heart and liver diseases and contribute to hypertension and high triglycerides. (6, 7) Alcoholic beverages and drinks may impact the weight loss progress. (8)

TLC diet is based on reducing saturated fat to less than 7% of daily calories intake, cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day, and increasing soluble fiber to 25-30 grams per day. You should get 25-35% of your daily calories intake from fats.

TLC Diet Servings for Each Food Group

♦ Six or more servings a day Bread, cereals, grains include:
whole-grain pieces of bread
low-fat crackers
low-fat cookies
♦ 3-5 servings a day vegetables, dry beans, and peas
♦ 2-4 servings a day fruits
♦ 2-3 servings a day fat-free or low-fat products
1% milk
sour cream
cream cheese
low-fat cottage cheese
(no more than 3 grams of fat per ounce)
♦ Two or fewer yolks per week
♦ Five or fewer ounces a day of meat, poultry, fish include:
lean cuts of beef
sirloin tip
round steak
rump roast
extra lean hamburger
cold cuts made from lean meats or soy protein
loin chops
eating shrimps occasionally
pork tenderloin
♦ Fats and oils depending on the daily calorie level
nuts in moderation
soft or liquid margarine
vegetable oil spreads
♦ Snacks in TLC diet
fresh frozen fruits
fresh vegetables
low fat and fat-free crackers
low fat and fat-free yogurt
low fat and fat-free ice cream
fruit ices
English muffins
candies with little or no fat


Physical Activity Needed for a TLC Diet

Low physical activity can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Regular physical activity can manage and control weight. It can lower the LDL level and triglycerides and increase the HDL level. (9, 10) Being fit can improve heart health, better condition of lungs, and stable blood pressure. (12, 13) People with adequate physical activity can make a person in better shape to be able to accept the diet changes. You have to talk to your doctor about the training and sport you want to choose and the exercise intensity.
Dietitians will follow you up to determine how much calorie is needed to maintain weight and lose weight. If you were still overweight after 2-3 months of following the TLC diet, you might need to reassure your personalized diet and the calorie counting. Additionally, the TLC diet suggests taking enough calories to maintain a desirable weight and avoid weight gain.

Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and improves heart health, better condition of lungs, and stable blood pressure. Try to have regular physical activity at least 150 minutes per week.

How to Lower Calories on TLC Diet

The proper balance between calorie intake and output is the key to weight loss in the TLC program. Some tips can guide us to success if they are observed in the diet.
♦ At least 8-ounces of water and other noncaloric beverages drinking to feeling full.
♦ Using fresh and steamed vegetables
♦ Choosing lean meats and the right foods
♦ Cutting calories and substituting them with other ingredients and, for example, using salsa on a baked potato instead of butter.
♦ Reducing calorie cheese
♦ Fat-free cheeses
♦ Using marinara instead of alfredo sauce for pasta
♦ Using canned broth-based soups instead of creamed soups
♦ Using whole grain oatmeal, couscous, barley, bulgur, and flakes instead of granola

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