Star ratings reflect scores of 1 to 5 assigned to the TLC diet in seven categories by nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts on a ratings panel assembled by U.S. News. (See our Best Diets methodology.) This diet was one of the highest scorers. If followed, it meets its cholesterol-cutting goal, and it’s safe, nutritious, and relatively easy to follow. The TLC diet is “a very sound and healthful way to eat,” according to experts, though “it requires commitment and education.” Below, ratings in all categories and how the experts’ opinions broke down.
Short-Term Weight Loss
A decent score suggests that dropping a significant number of pounds fairly quickly is doable. But TLC is not intended as a weight-loss diet; its aim is to improve cardiovascular health, and the lack of a helpful support system could challenge weight loss.
Long-Term Weight Loss
This was the diet’s weakest category with our expert panel members. Dieters may have a tough time maintaining significant weight loss for two years. Still, “it is a very well-balanced diet,” according to experts, and “teaches good eating habits.”
Easy to Follow
Decoding nutrition labels and getting by with few guiding resources are hurdles, but not too tall. The experts felt that sticking with the plan is feasible. “This is a dietary pattern that individuals can follow for a lifetime,” one expert said.
Nutritional completeness is one of the TLC diet’s strong suits. The panel agreed that it conforms to the federal government’s recommendations for total and saturated fat, carbs and protein, and it provides lots of fiber and calcium.
Only a few 4s kept the TLC diet from a perfect rating of 5. Dieters needn’t worry about health risks like serious side effects, malnourishment, or losing weight too quickly, and there are no age or other dieter restrictions.
Quite a few of the experts felt that the TLC diet could prevent or help manage diabetes, although little research has examined its value in that regard. The panelists liked that it promotes the right foods—like fruits and veggies—and discourages the wrong ones.
For Heart Health
The TLC diet is designed to cut cholesterol and improve heart health, and the expert panel said it does that very well. The plan is an “excellent” way to prevent and treat heart disease, one expert said.
Last updated by Angela Haupt | December 13, 2013