One way to lower cholesterol is by adopting a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. There are a number of different low-fat, low-cholesterol diets to choose from but the goals and restrictions of each diet are similar. On any low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, dietary fat, sodium and cholesterol are strictly avoided while consumption of soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates are increased.
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, also known as the TLC diet, is a methodological approach to eating while avoiding saturated fats. On the TLC diet, 25 percent to 35 percent of daily calories can come from unsaturated fats with at least 20 percent coming from polyunsaturated fat and the remaining 10 percent from monounsaturated fats. Acceptable fats for the TLC diet are those found in fish and nuts.
Protein accounts for another 15 percent and carbohydrates should comprise between 50 percent to 60 percent of total calories. Cholesterol intake is sharply limited to less than 200 mg a day, and daily consumption of 10 to 25 g of soluble fiber is recommended.
The DASH diet, originally developed as a diet to lower blood pressure, has also been effective in lowering cholesterol. The DASH diet involves increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables while limiting total intake of sodium and saturated fat. The DASH diet consists of four to five daily servings of fruit, four to five daily servings of vegetables, two to three daily servings of low-fat dairy products, seven to eight daily servings of whole grains, two daily servings of fish, two to three daily servings of fats, four to five weekly servings of beans, nuts and seeds and no more than five weekly servings of dessert.
The Dean Ornish diet is a high-fiber, low-fat vegetarian diet with no caloric restriction. On the Dean Ornish diet, the following foods can be eaten without restraint: fruits, grains, beans, legumes and vegetables. The following foods can be enjoyed in moderation: nonfat dairy products, egg whites and nonfat or low-fat commercial products such as low-fat frozen yogurts. Lastly, all meats, oils, foods containing fats or oils, avocados, nuts, seeds, full fat dairy products, sugars, alcohol and any commercial food with more than 2 g of far per serving must be strictly avoided.