Core Elements of the TLC Diet

Written by  //  December 28, 2012  //  Diet Fitness, Health  //  31 Comments

TLC diet core elementsThe TLC diet, which stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, is a nutrition program specially designed for people who are looking after a more stable cholesterol level and an effective weight loss solution. The goal of this diet plan is to reduce the consumption of foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and unessential compounds that promote illness.

It was the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) that introduced the TLC diet to help people improve their cardiovascular health. It is a known fact that heart failure is the number one killer in America, destroying thousands of life every day. The TLC plan includes physical exercises, diet changes, and some efforts to shed pounds.

If you’re new to the TLC diet, there are a few important concepts or terms you need to be familiar with before getting started. They are also called the core elements of the diet plan. These include the following:


Contrary to what many people think, cholesterol isn’t bad at all. It is worth knowing that are two types of cholesterol – the good and the bad. The bad ones, called LDLs are those that trigger the build-up of plaque in the artery walls, preventing the blood from properly circulating to and from the heart. As a result, heart attack occurs. Cholesterol isn’t just taken from food sources. In fact, the liver produces most of cholesterol required by the body. In the TLC diet, individuals should limit their intake of cholesterol for no more than 200mg per day.


Just like cholesterol, fats aren’t bad at all. The body needs them to sustain energy. But then, the body only needs the good or healthy fats, also called the unsaturated fats. They are good because they help limit the production of LDLs. Under the TLC diet, an individual should strictly observe his or her fat consumption. It must be limited to 25-35% of the total calories spent on a daily basis. The unsaturated fats are categorized into two – the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The TLC diet recommends sparing 20% of total daily calorie intake for polyunsaturated and 10% for the monounsaturated fats.


Carbohydrates are essential sources of energy. But instead of simple sugars like those found in cookies and pastries, the TLC diet recommends consuming complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole grains, pasta, and wheat bread. Unlike most diet programs that discourage carbohydrates, the TLC plan allows dieters to dedicate 50 to 60% of their daily calorie to carb-rich foods.

Soluble Fiber

Fiber is highly valuable in promoting good digestion and metabolism. One common reason why many people easily gain weight than others is that they have poor metabolism. With this diet plan, an individual should focus on eating fiber-rich foods like raw vegetables and fruits to obtain the standard recommended fiber intake which is 10-25 grams every day. Fiber also helps dissolve bad cholesterol.


Protein, especially the lean ones, is also the focus of many effective diet regimes. Protein-rich foods include lean meat, fish, legumes, beans, soy, and many plant-based products. It can be obtained in dairy products as well, like cheese and whole milk. With TLC, protein constitutes 15% of the daily calorie intake.

Other Important Considerations

Those who are following the TLC diet must restrict their salt consumption to up to 200mg a day. This means they should avoid junk foods, chips, and other salty treats. The recommended salt intake remains the same regardless of the number of calories a person eats.

Exercise is another essential component of this diet plan. Engaging in physical activities also promote reduction in LDL levels and production of good cholesterol. It also helps burn fats, as everyone knows. Aerobics is among the best options for cholesterol management. For women, the recommended calorie intake under this program is 1,800 and for men, 2,500. For those looking to shed some pounds, they can lower down their calorie consumption to 1,200 for women and 1,600 for men.

How effective is it?

Depends on what purpose it is used for. Although the TLC diet has been proven to promote weight loss, it is more effective as a preventive approach against heart problems and many other serious illnesses. In a study published in the Journal Lipid Research, it was found that this particular diet program improves the T cell-mediated immune function in older adults who have elevated levels of LDL cholesterol.

About the Author

Mark Sanchez has good experience in the health care field. He also writing for, Mark Sanchez like to write on on health, diabetes, fitness & TLC Diet

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