People have varying degrees of success in lowering their
cholesterol by changing their diets. Those who are most successful using diet changes
to lower their cholesterol are those who lose excess weight. Diet changes are
usually the first step in lowering cholesterol before medicines are
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is recommended
by the National Cholesterol Education Program of the U.S. National Institutes
of Health. The diet's main focus is to reduce the amount of saturated fat you
eat, because saturated fat elevates your cholesterol. You can reduce the
saturated fat in your diet by limiting the amount of meat and milk products you
consume. Choose low-fat products from those food groups instead. Replace most
of the animal fat in your diet with unsaturated fat, especially monounsaturated
oils, such as olive, canola, or peanut. Monounsaturated fat lowers
LDL ("bad") cholesterol if it is substituted for
saturated fat and keeps
HDL ("good") cholesterol up.
The TLC diet
calls for less than 7% of your daily calories to come from saturated fat and
for eating no more than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol a day. But the diet
allows 25% to 35% of daily calories from fat, mainly from unsaturated
fat. Most of the fat should be monounsaturated, and
only 10% should be polyunsaturated fat. Your diet should include only enough
calories to stay at your desired weight and avoid gaining weight.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.