Cholesterol is a substance of the blood and bile, which helps us to correctly digest food, produce vitamin D and other hormones; In addition, it is the same body that produces all the necessary cholesterol, but when its levels increase more than necessary it can produce not so favorable changes in our organism.
Therefore, effective diets were created, such as the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet (known as TCL), designed to promote better heart health and reduce cholesterol levels by combining Healthy eating patterns with lifestyle modifications and strategies to control weight.
Discover all about the diet that could lower your cholesterol levels: the TLC diet, a diet that health experts classify as one of the best and most effective.
What is the TCL Diet?
The TLC diet was developed by the National Institutes of Health in the United States to help decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is a healthy eating plan, considered more a change in lifestyle, designed to improve heart health with the goal of minimizing blood levels of total LDL (bad) cholesterol to keep arteries clear and optimize health from the heart.
How does the TCL diet work?
It works by combining components of diet and exercise to help protect the body against heart disease; it has also been associated with the reduction of oxidative stress and many more benefits. For example, one study found that following the TLC diet for 6 weeks led to significant reductions in total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially in men.
Following the TLC diet usually involves increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. These are natural compounds present in foods that have been shown to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol. It is also recommended to add 30 minutes of daily physical activity.
How to follow the TLC diet?
To follow the TCL diet effectively, certain guidelines must be implemented in daily life:
- Eat only enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.
- 25-35% of your daily calories should come from fat.
- Less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats.
- The intake of cholesterol in the diet should be limited to less than 200 mg per day.
- Try to eat 10-25 grams of fiber a day.
- Consume at least 2 grams of plant sterols each day.
- At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day.
It is extremely important to limit foods high in fat and cholesterol such as fatty cuts of meat, dairy products, egg yolks and processed foods and keep them within the recommended daily amount: this way the results will be more effective.
Benefits of the TLC diet
In addition to helping reduce cholesterol levels, the TLC diet has been associated with a number of significant benefits for good health:
- Improves immune function: a small study in 18 people showed that following a diet of TLC improved immune function in older adults with high cholesterol.
- Promotes weight loss: regular exercise, keeping caloric intake under control and increasing the intake of soluble fiber can be effective strategies to help promote sustainable weight loss.
- Stabilizes blood sugar: The TLC diet includes increasing the intake of soluble fiber, which decreases the absorption of sugar in the blood to help control blood sugar levels.
- Reduces oxidative stress: in a study in 31 adults with diabetes showed that following a diet of TLC with high legume content reduced oxidative stress, which is related to the development of chronic diseases.
- Reduction of blood pressure: Studies show that increasing the intake of soluble fiber can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
Disadvantages of the TLC diet
Because implementing the TCL diet involves applying a set of strategies that turn out to be effective, this can be a useful tool to help improve heart health, however, it can be associated with some potential disadvantages.
It is a diet that can be a little difficult to follow to the letter, not to mention that several guidelines included can be based on outdated research, which calls into question its need.
For example, the TLC diet recommends limiting your cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day. Although it was once thought that dietary cholesterol played an important role in heart health, most research now shows that it has little or no effect on blood cholesterol levels for most people.
In addition, the TLC diet also recommends minimizing saturated fats in the diet. But if we look at it from another point of view, even though saturated fats can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, research shows that they can also raise “good” HDL cholesterol in the blood, which can be beneficial. For the health of the heart.
In addition, several important reviews have shown that the reduction of saturated fat consumption is not linked to a lower risk of heart disease or death from heart disease.
Related Wiki Link: How to lower your cholesterol level