The TLC diet is based on consuming a wide variety of different foods. In doing this, you will get a proper ratio of nutrients to fuel your body effectively.
Food choices are not restricted as such, but should be eaten in certain amounts. These amounts are a percentage of your total calorie intake for each day. Here is a breakdown:
- Saturated fat – less than 7 % of total calories
- Polyunsaturated fat – up to 10 % of total calories
- Monounsaturated fat – up to 20 % of total calories
- Carbohydrate – 50 % to 60 % of total calories
- Soluble fiber – At least 5 to 10 grams a day
- Protein – Approximately 15 % of total calories
- Cholesterol – less than 220 mg per day
Now let’s take a look at each of these in the TLC Diet.
The biggest part of TLC diet program is about fats and where you need to focus your attention. If you get the correct amount of good fats in your diet most things will fall into place (Carbs, Protein & Fiber).
Fat seems to be a dreaded word for most of us, but it is important to understand that dietary fat is different to your body fat. That is, dietary fat is not always bad. In fact, some dietary fat is necessary for your body to function properly.
You will want to eat ‘healthy fats’ and eliminate saturated and trans fats on the TLC diet. Be particularly careful about packaged foods such as crackers, cookies, chips and snacks. These are a haven for bad fats.
Healthy fats include seeds, nuts, unrefined oils and naturally occurring fats in vegetables and meats. Here are some guidelines for choosing healthy fats:
- Use oils high in unsaturated fats such as olive, canola and vegetable oils.
- Margarine is a better option than butter as the latter is high in saturated fat.
- Avoid meat products high in saturated fats such as bacon, sausages, deli meat, hot dogs and ground meat. Instead choose skinless chicken and turkey, lean meat and fish. Also try replacing some meats with pulses and legumes.
- When choosing dairy products, opt for low fat or no fat options.
- Limit egg yolks to 2 per week. There is no limit on egg whites.
- Raw seeds and nuts are a great snack e.g. almonds, cashews, pecans, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
These will make up the bulk of your diet. This includes breads, cereals, pasta, rice and other grains.
It is important with carbohydrates to stay away from the more processed choices. Foods like snack crackers, muffins, croissants and cakes are full of the wrong fats. Opt for low fat baked goods or better still, make your own.
A good rule of thumb here is the less processed it is (think oats, rice, etc), the better it will be.
As mentioned above, the main source of protein should be lean meats, skinless poultry, fish and legumes. Avoid processed, fatty meats.
This can help with lowering cholesterol and is found in fruits, oats and beans. There are also supplements that can help increase the amount soluble fiber in your diet.
If you follow all of the above, particularly in the fats section, then your cholesterol intake should be in the right range. Make sure you read product labels as well so you can keep track of cholesterol quantities.
As the above shows, the TLC diet encourages a healthy, low fat yet flexible approach to eating. Use the guidelines above come up with a diet plan to suit your tastes and lifestyle.