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What is the TLC Diet?

You may have seen food labels claiming the food to be low in cholesterol, but why does that matter? How can we have good and bad cholesterol? What does lower cholesterol actually do for my health? What foods have cholesterol in them?

Quick Quiz.
Choose the best answer. The answers are at the end of the article.

  1. What type of cholesterol does the TLC diet aim to lower?

a. HDL cholesterol
b. LDL cholesterol
c. “Good” cholesterol
d. Trans cholesterol

 

2. What type of fiber helps lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels?

a. Soluble
b. Insoluble
c. Low sodium
d.Omega-3

You may have seen food labels claiming the food to be low in cholesterol, but why does that matter? How can we have good and bad cholesterol? What does lower cholesterol actually do for my health? What foods have cholesterol in them?

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, or TLC, program is a health-care provider-recommended diet. It can help you answer these questions and many more.

Physical activity and weight management are encouraged because they are effective ways of managing blood cholesterol levels. People can follow this program by itself or it can be paired with medication. People typically follow it to prevent, manage or treat heart disease.

The three-part program approach is important because each part relates to risk factors for heart disease, such as being overweight or obese, as well as having diabetes, or high blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Other risk factors for heart disease include smoking, age and family history.

Lowering risks is the main goal of the TLC program. The diet recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most or all days of the week. Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include cycling, playing tennis, walking briskly or dancing. The diet portion of this program includes recommendations for total fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber and calorie intake.

Here are some general tips for a heart-healthy diet:

  • Read and compare nutrition labels.
  • Use nonstick pans or cooking spray instead of butter, margarine or cooking oil.
  • Don’t add salt at the table because most processed foods already have sodium in them.
  • Skim the accumulated fat off the top of leftover soups and stews.
  • Choose low-sodium options of canned, frozen and packaged foods.
  • Eat a variety of whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose red sauces more often than white sauces.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat.
  • Remove the skin from chicken and other poultry.
  • Season foods with spices and herbs instead of salt.
  • Choose low-fat options, but be mindful of sugars added to these products.
  • See www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/chol_tlc.pdf for more information, or visit with a dietitian or other health-care provider.

 Answers: 1. b; 2. a.

 

By Walker Lee, Community Nutrition Intern, NDSU Extension

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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