Home Health & Wellness Special Diets

Special Diets

High Cholesterol

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet is recommended for people with high cholesterol or heart disease.1 This diet is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Eating foods rich in soluble fiber (such as oatmeal) and plant sterols/stanols (added to some margarines and spreads) may also help lower cholesterol levels.

For More Information: Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/cgi-bin/chd/step2intro.cgi)
See also: Cholesterol Drugs

High Blood Pressure

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet lowers blood pressure in people with and without high blood pressure. This diet is rich in potassium (largely from fruits and vegetables) and you can choose a plan with either a moderate (2,400 milligrams or lower) or low (1,500 milligrams or lower) amount of sodium.

For More Information: DASH diet (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/)
See also: Salt & Potassium


The American Diabetes Association supports the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and recommendations by the American Heart Association.2 For people with diabetes, the main issue is whether to replace saturated fat with carbohydrate or monounsaturated fat. About 60% to 70% of your calories should come from carbohydrate and monounsaturated fat. The exact balance will depend on your health goals and your food preferences—you should discuss it with your physician or a registered dietitian. If you are trying to lose weight, low-fat choices may help you cut calories.

For More Information: American Diabetes Association Food & Fitness (http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/)

Weight Loss

To lose weight, it’s generally recommended that you cut down on fat. This is because fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrates or protein (9 versus about 4). In the National Weight Control Registry survey of nearly 800 people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept if off for at least 1 year, one third said they had cut down on fat.3 Research suggests that the type of diet (low-fat, low-carbohydrate, etc.) is less important than whether you stick to it. People on more extreme diets (such as the Atkins diet) were less likely to stick with their plan than people who chose more moderate diets, including Weight Watchers or The Zone.4 Being physically active is also important for helping you to lose weight and keep it off.5 Eating more whole grains and fruits and vegetables may also help prevent you gaining pounds.6-8
See also: Overweight & Obesity


1. Third Report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III) final report. Circulation. Dec 17 2002;106(25):3143-3421.
2. Franz MJ, Bantle JP, Beebe CA, et al. Evidence-based nutrition principles and recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diabetes and related complications. Diabetes Care. Jan 2002;25(1):148-198.
3. Klem ML, Wing RR, McGuire MT, Seagle HM, Hill JO. A descriptive study of individuals successful at long-term maintenance of substantial weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr. Aug 1997;66(2):239-246.
4. Dansinger ML, Gleason JA, Griffith JL, Selker HP, Schaefer EJ. Comparison of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone diets for weight loss and heart disease risk reduction: a randomized trial. JAMA. Jan 5 2005;293(1):43-53.
5. Wing RR. Physical activity in the treatment of the adulthood overweight and obesity: current evidence and research issues. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Nov 1999;31(11 Suppl):S547-552.
6. Koh-Banerjee P, Rimm EB. Whole grain consumption and weight gain: a review of the epidemiological evidence, potential mechanisms and opportunities for future research. Proc Nutr Soc. Feb 2003;62(1):25-29.
7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. 6th Edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office; 2005. HHS-ODPHP-2005-01-DGA-A.
8. Liu S, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rosner B, Colditz G. Relation between changes in intakes of dietary fiber and grain products and changes in weight and development of obesity among middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr. Nov 2003;78(5):920-927.


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