The US National Institutes of Health developed diet plans for reducing the risk of heart disease: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was developed in research sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health to lower blood pressure without medication. The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC Diet, was created to effectively lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that the DASH and TLC diets reduce the risk of many other diseases, including some kinds of cancer, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney stones, and diabetes. The DASH diet is based on an overall healthful eating plan and emphasizes lower salt/sodium intake, proper portion size, and moderate calorie intake. Salt should never exceed 2,300 milligrams per day, with a lower amount of 1,500 milligrams recommended.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, or TLC, does not primarily focus on weight-loss; instead, its focus is reducing saturated fats, replacing some saturated fats with unsaturated fats, maintaining ideal body weight and ideal daily calorie intake. Guidelines include:
- Intake of saturated fat should be kept below 7% of the total calorie intake
- 25-35% of daily total calories should come from healthy fat intake
- Daily cholesterol intake should be kept below 200 milligrams
- Sodium intake must be limited to 2400 mg per day
- Calorie intake should be kept to a level needed for maintaining a healthy weight
- Physical activity must be maintained regularly along with the diet, i.e. at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.