You might have heard of TLC. No, not tender loving care. In the world of diet and nutrition, TLC stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. The TLC diet is among today’s most popular diet trends mainly because of its health benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease represents the number one leading cause of death in the United States. It’s no secret that many of the heart related conditions that our generation suffers from today are linked to obesity, high blood pressure and high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol most commonly known as bad cholesterol. All of these conditions can be treated with the most ancient yet underestimated therapies of all: Nutrition.

Unlike other diets that focus only on achieving aesthetics results, the TLC diet, created by the National Institutes of Health and supported by the American Heart Association, promotes not only weight loss, but also heart health. By limiting the intake of foods containing high levels of saturated fat, sodium and calories, this diet’s main purpose is to reach the ideal bodyweight while lowering the risk of heart disease through healthy eating habits. It educates you based on guidelines that represent the ideal limits a person should consume to stay healthy. It also emphasizes the importance of integrating physical activity to attain optimum health.

According to the diet, in the war against high cholesterol and obesity, saturated fat should be your number one enemy. Your daily intake of saturated fats should be no more than 7% of your total calorie consumption and cholesterol should be kept at 200 mg a day or lower. The daily amount of sodium should not exceed 2400 mg. Lastly, 25 to 35% of the total calories for the day should come from fat. Many would find that last point interesting to say the least, but it all depends on your goals. Therefore, if in order to maintain an ideal bodyweight you need to consume 1,200 calories per day, then you to eat no more than 8 grams of saturated fats. It might sound complicated at first, but there is no need to worry since this diet comes with lots of tools and resources to make it all simple to follow.

What makes this diet so popular? Well, first of all, although the TLC diet is one that you do on your own, you won’t be alone. You will have all the information you need and, most importantly, it is based on research. It will teach you how to read food labels and question everything you put in your mouth so that you eat consciously and opt for healthier choices. Many of its principles will not be new to you (like the benefits of eating whole grains, fruits, veggies and small portions of lean meats) and you’ll probably say you knew it all. But, have you asked yourself what is stopping you from following this principle? The answer is because it is too hard to do without a plan to follow. One valuable aspect about this diet is that they indeed make it really easy on dieters. You will learn about why your body behaves the way it does and the factors that trigger high cholesterol levels. From calories and carbs calculators to healthy recipes, you won’t easily get bored.

Most diets tend to take one food group completely out of your meals and consequently leave you nutritiously deprived; that is not the case with this program. In addition, they emphasize the importance of keeping a journal where you list every meal you eat; that way you can come back, look at your progress or setback and either feel proud of yourself or work to make healthier food choices. They actually intended to create this diet so that you can introduce it into your daily eating routine and can permanently turn it into your lifestyle. Still have doubts? The TLC diet is one of the few that will be backed by your physician giving you the confidence needed to enter this journey without doubts or fears. If you are like most dieters out there, you are most likely asking, is this really that comprehensive? To learn the answer to that and other questions concerning the TLC diet, visit: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/choltlc.pdf