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Three-Part Program To Lower Cholesterol

esterol, the guide offers tips on choosing and preparing low fat meals, selecting healthy snacks, reading nutrition labels, and dining out while staying on the TLC diet. The booklet includes sample menus for different types of cuisine (traditional American, Southern, Mexican-American, and Asian).

The LDL-lowering power of the TLC diet can be boosted by adding soluble fiber and plant stanols and sterols, substances derived from plants that help block cholesterol absorption. The guide suggests ways to add fiber to the diet and discusses the value of plant stanols and sterols and which food products have them.

In addition to what you eat, how much you move is also important for heart health. Lack of physical activity is an important risk factor for heart disease. Inactivity contributes to weight gain and raises LDL as well as lowering HDL, the “good” cholesterol. The booklet offers a step-by-step program to get people moving and includes a chart of calories burned in common activities.

Overweight and obesity increase a person's LDL level and can also raise triglycerides and lower HDL. To help people lose those extra pounds, the guide includes calorie-cutting strategies, ideas for substituting lower calorie foods for high calorie favorites, and a handy chart of portion sizes based on NHLBI's Portion Distortion Interactive Quiz (http://hin.nhlbi.nih.gov/portion/). There are also sample menus for TLC at different calorie levels.

A special section of the booklet is devoted to the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes that is associated with obesity and overweight. Having one risk factor increases a person's risk of heart disease, but having several as in metabolic syndrome increases risk even more. The lifestyle changes recommended in the TLC program—especially weight control and physical activity—are the main treatment for metabolic syndrome.

The last chapter of the guide
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