Need to Lower Your Cholesterol? Need to Lower Your Cholesterol?
National Institute of Health

Because you already have heart disease or are at high risk for developing it, you should start on the TLC Diet right away. The TLC Diet is a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet that will help to reduce your blood cholesterol level to decrease your chance of developing heart disease, future heart attacks, and other heart disease complications.

TLC Diet Guidelines — you should eat:

Less than 7% of the day’s total calories from saturated fat. 25-35 percent of the day’s total calories from fat. Less than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day. Limit sodium intake to 2400 milligrams a day. Just enough calories to achieve or maintain a healthy weight and reduce your blood cholesterol level. (Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what is a reasonable calorie level for you.)

Because the TLC Diet may include changes to your current eating plan, your doctor may refer you to a registered dietitian (RD) who can help you make these changes. An RD will teach your about the TLC Diet, help you chose foods and plan menus, monitor your progress, encourage you to stay on the TLC Diet, and help you to adjust your calorie level accordingly.

If your blood cholesterol is not lowered enough on the TLC Diet, your doctor may first intensify the TLC diet by increasing the amount of soluble fiber and/or adding cholesterol-lowering food products to your diet. These products include such items as margarines and salad dressings that contain plant sterol esters or plant stanol esters. If your LDL is still not lowered enough, your doctor may prescribe cholesterol lowering medication along with the TLC diet.

TLC Diet and You – Your Personal Eating Plan

The recommendations for cholesterol and sodium are the same for everyone on the TLC Diet, regardless of the number of calories they should eat. You should eat less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol a day and no more than 2400 milligrams of sodium a day.

The recommendations for saturated fat and total fat are based on the percentage of calories you eat; the actual amount that you eat will vary depending on how many calories you eat. To get an estimate of the amount of calories, grams of saturated fat and fat to help you lower your blood cholesterol on the TLC Diet, follow these easy steps:

Your Weight
(pounds) Height
(feet) Height
(inches) Sex Male
Female Age Group 18 – 30 30 – 60 Over 60 Activity Level Light Activity Moderate Activity Heavy Activity

Activity Descriptions:

The following is a list of selected activities and occupations that are factors in estimating your calorie needs. These activities have been divided into three levels: light, moderate and heavy. Please look at the list and note which types of activities you spend most of your time doing. Then select the activity level that best reflects how you spend most of your time on most days of the week. There are many other activities and occupations that do not appear on this list. Use your best judgment to select an activity level that comes closest to your actual activities and occupation.


Desk work, electrical trades, carpentry, restaurant trades, child care, leisurely walking, light housework, golf, sailing, table tennis.


Office work on feet, walking for exercise, gardening and yard work, farming, strenuous housework, downhill skiing, cycling, dancing, tennis, running.


Walking uphill, construction work and other types of physical labor, basketball, climbing, football, soccer.