The TLC Diet is a Winner

The TLC Diet is a Winner

Beyond a slimmer appearance, more weight loss diets are aimed at improving heart health.  While obesity stresses the heart, nutritional imbalance can also harm it. Many popular fad diets have resulted in arrhythmias or even heart attack. Unlike typical weight loss diets, the TLC diet is aimed at decreasing the risk of heart disease while promoting weight-conscious eating habits.


Why “Fad” and “Crash” Diets are Dangerous


There have been hundreds of diets attempted by celebrities that are based in a precipitous drop in calories to lose weight.  The problem with these “crash” diets is that they often result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Abnormally low consumption of potassium and magnesium can lead to cardiac stress, a weakened immune system, and heart rhythm irregularities. Additionally, “crash” diets have been linked to a loss of muscle, water (necessary to maintaining pH balance), and bone density, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, and Christian Bale are some of the Hollywood celebrities who have adhered to crash diets to prepare for movie roles.


What is the TLC Diet?


The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet was developed by the Cholesterol Education Program (National Institutes of Health). Approved by the American Heart Association, it limits daily dietary cholesterol intake to 200 mg, and total calorie intake to less than 35% percent from all fats. TLC is actually a comprehensive approach from a clinical nutritionist perspective that involves three elements—diet, increased physical activity, and weight management (per a fact-sheet of the Centers for Disease Control). 


According to a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute booklet (entitled, “Your Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol with TLC”), the TLC diet utilizes four categories of heart disease risk to establish LDL-lowering goals. “Category 1” corresponds to the highest risk, and is for those diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes.  For individuals in this category, the LDL goal is a daily intake of less than 100 mg/dL.


“Category 2” corresponds to those individuals with two or more risk factors for heart disease plus a TLC risk score of 10-20%. The LDL goal for people in this category is less  than 130 mg/dL.  “Category 4” corresponds to lowest risk; persons in this category have one or no risk factors for heart disease (with LDL goal of less than 160 mg/dL).


The Difference Between the TLC and DASH Diets


Weight loss is often a consequence of following the TLC and/or DASH diets.  However, it is not their main goal. While the target group for the TLC diet was conceived as those adults with high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, the DASH diet was created to lower hypertension and overall cholesterol level.  However, both diets involve significantly decreasing saturated fat intake.


Weight Loss and Heart-Healthy Diets


There is a strong relationship between heart disease and overweight. Likewise, people who are obese are more likely to have high cholesterol levels and heart disease. Maintaining a weight that is considered appropriate for height can lower the risk of heart attack. However, it is still important to maintain cholesterol and triglycerides with a normal range to avoid developing 

CATEGORIES: Health, Diet, Heart Health