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Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal products such as meats, dairy products and eggs. Blood cholesterol levels are affected mostly by saturated fat in the diet and a little by dietary cholesterol.

Lowering cholesterol with therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC)

The TLC diet

If your LDL level is higher than 100 mg/ dL you need to be on a low saturated fat, low cholesterol eating plan.

This plan calls for fewer than 7 percent of calories from saturated fat and fewer than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol each day.

The TLC diet recommends only enough calories to maintain a desirable weight and avoid weight gain. If this does not lower your LDL level enough, add more soluble fiber to your diet.

Foods that contain plant stanols/sterols (such as BenecolĀ® and Take ControlĀ®) can also be added to lower your LDL level. Even if your LDL level is below 100 mg/dL, you should still eat a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.

Weight management

Losing weight (if you are overweight) can help lower your LDL level.


Exercise is recommended to help raise your HDL and lower your LDL levels.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts