The TLC diet pattern is one of the few diet plans that is constantly rated high as the best diet by medical experts across the world. This diet pattern is formulated to support better heart health and lower cholesterol levels by combining healthy eating behaviour with lifestyle changes and effective plans for weight loss. Additionally, a TLC diet plan may also be potential for controlling other health conditions by managing blood glucose and blood pressure levels and maintaining waistline.

Read this article to get an overview of the TLC diet, its possible health benefits, and its downsides.
TLC Diet Food

What Is TLC Diet?

The TLC diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet) is a healthy eating pattern specially formulated to augment heart health and function. This diet plan was developed by the National Institutes of Health to mitigate the risk of heart ailments and stroke. The key goal of the diet is to diminish the levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad)cholesterol levels, to maintain the arteries clear and optimize heart health.

This diet plan works by elements of diet, exercise, and weight management to shield the heart against disease. It is distinct from other diet regimens, where the TLC diet is intended to be followed in the long term and is believed more of a lifestyle modification rather than a fad diet.

Some of the other wellness incentives that have been associated with the TLC diet include improved immune function and reduced oxidative stress to mention a few.

Also Read: Atherosclerosis Diet: What Should You Eat and Avoid For Better Heart Health

How Does It work?

Basically, the TLC diet comprises a blend of both diet and lifestyle changes that have been proven to enhance heart health. To be more specific it involves shifting up the types of fat one eats and increasing the intake of health-benefiting compounds like soluble fibre and plant sterols that can reduce cholesterol levels. Further, it also joins dietary modifications with increased physical activity to help weight control and strengthen the heart muscle.

The Main Guidelines For The TLC Diet Include:

  • Eat only adequate calories to keep a healthy weight
  • 25 -35% of daily calories should come from fat
  • Less than 7% of daily calories should come from saturated fat
  • Dietary cholesterol intake should be limited to < less than 200mg/day
  • Get 10-25 grams of soluble fibre daily
  • Have at least 2 grams of plant sterols every day
  • Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity workout daily

Thus, this diet mainly involves increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds to boost fibre intake.

Also, getting 30 minutes of physical activity every day is highly suggested, which includes activities like walking, running, cycling, or swimming.

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The TLC diet is mainly designed to lower cholesterol levels and lessen the risk of heart disease. Several pieces of evidence revealed that following the TLC diet for six weeks led to remarkable reductions in total cholesterol and triglycerides levels. As the diet encourages increasing intake of soluble fibre, which is associated with lower cholesterol levels and a lower risk of heart disease. Furthermore, incorporating regular exercise into a routine and cutting down the intake of saturated fat can also help to maintain LDL cholesterol levels.

Other Benefits Include

Promotes Immune Function: This diet pattern significantly bolsters immune response and uplifts overall health.

Manages Weight: Getting regular physical activity, cutting down fat, maintaining calorie intake and increasing soluble fibre intake work incredibly well to promote sustainable weight loss.

Regulates Blood Sugar: High intake of dietary fibre aid to slow down the digestion of food and stabilizes blood glucose surge.

Prevents Oxidative Stress: The TLC diet is heaped with beneficial plant compounds that reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which is linked to lower the risk of developing chronic disease.

Maintain Blood Pressure: Increased intake of soluble fibre and plant sterols aids to control blood pressure.

Also Read: Amazing Foods To Reduce LDL Cholesterol - Infographic

Foods to Eat

Foods to include in the diet:

  • Fruits: Apples, bananas, melons, oranges, pears, peaches
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, spinach, kale
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, oats, quinoa
  • Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, chickpea
  • Nuts: Almonds, cashews, chestnuts, walnuts
  • Seeds: Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds
  • Poultry: Skinless turkey, chicken
  • Fish and seafood: Salmon, codfish, flounder, pollock

Foods To Avoid

This diet refrains intake of foods that are high in saturated fat, and cholesterol such as fat portions of meat, processed meat products, egg yolk and dairy high-fat products. Additionally, processed, and fried foods are also avoided to maintain fat and calorie intake within the recommended limit.

  • Red meat: Fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb
  • Processed meat: Bacon, sausage, hot dogs
  • Poultry with skin: Turkey, chicken
  • Full-fat dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter
  • Processed foods: Baked goods, cookies, crackers, chips
  • Fried foods: French fries, doughnuts
  • Egg yolks


The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) diet pattern combines diet and physical activity to attain long-term lifestyle modifications that support lower cholesterol levels and augment heart health. Besides these, it may also promote immune response, oxidative stress, and blood sugar levels. This diet majorly emphasises eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, while restricting high-fat and cholesterol food. Thus, when employed as a lifestyle modification rather than a fad diet, the TLC diet could make a positive impact on the overall health over a long period.