Triglycerides and the Foods We Eat
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream and fat tissue. The majority of the fats we take in, like butter, margarines and oils, are in triglyceride form. Excess calories, alcohol or sugars that we eat are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells in your body.
The risk of elevated triglycerides is hardening and narrowing of your arteries. This can lead to you having a heart attack or stroke. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, kidney failure or alcoholism can cause high triglycerides. Often, high triglycerides occur along with high levels of cholesterol.
Triglycerides vs Cholesterol
Triglycerides and cholesterol are both fatty compounds called lipids. Whereas triglycerides are fats, cholesterol is not. Cholesterol is a waxy, odorless substance made by the liver that is an important component of cell walls and nerves.
Cholesterol also plays an essential role in body functions like digestion and hormone production. Besides being produced by the body, cholesterol comes from animal-based foods that we eat.
Pure cholesterol cannot mix with or dissolve in the blood. Therefore, the liver combines cholesterol with triglycerides and proteins into carriers called lipoproteins to transport it to areas throughout your body.
Triglyceride levels are normally taken when you have a blood test known as a Lipid Profile. Those over age 20 should have their cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. Your health care provider can check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by taking a sample of blood, which is sent to a lab for testing. The Lipid Profile shows your triglyceride level, total cholesterol level, HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or "good” cholesterol) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad” cholesterol) levels.
After eating, blood triglyceride levels are usually elevated. For a more accurate reading, blood samples for a triglyceride test should be taken after a 12-hour period of not eating or drinking. Many other factors affect blood triglyceride levels including alcohol, diet, menstrual cycle, time of day and recent exercise.
Guidelines for healthy triglyceride levels in adults are:
- Normal: Under 150 mg/dl
- Borderline High: 151– 200 mg/dl
- High: 201 – 499 mg/dl
- Very High: 500 mg/dl or higher
If tests reveal that you have a high triglyceride level, you may be able to lower them by following a low-sugar and low-fat diet, as well as limiting your alcohol intake.
Those with high triglycerides and low HDL or high LDL levels may require medications as well as diet modifications. People with triglycerides in the very high range (over 500 mg/dL) generally will require medications, because triglyceride levels this high may cause other medical problems.
Better Food Choices
Eating foods high in simple sugars significantly contributes to high triglycerides. Here are some ways to help limit simple sugars in your diet:
- Avoid or skip candy
- Avoid adding table sugar and brown sugar to hot and cold cereals.
- Try no-sugar-added jelly or preserves.
- When choosing cereals, limit the sugar to no more than 8 grams per serving.
- Be aware that desserts labeled "fat-free” usually contain more sugar and equal calories than the full-fat varieties.
- Ease up on your intake of cookies, pastries, pies, cakes and granola bars. All of these foods contain high levels of added sugar; eat them sparingly.
- Reduce your intake of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, gelato, and flavored ices - all contain high levels of sugar.
- Limit your daily sugar intake to no more than 8% of your total calories each day. That’s 24 grams for someone following a 1,600-calorie diet, or 40 grams for a 2,000-calorie diet.
It’s also important to read the ingredients list on food labels, and limit foods that contain any of the following as the first few ingredients:
- Corn syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
Alcoholic beverages are a significant factor in high triglyceride levels. Beer, wine, spirits and mixed drinks all contribute to the problem. Men should not exceed two drinks per day, and women should limit to their intake to one drink per day.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is usually used for women to replace the female hormones lost after menopause. This can cause elevated triglycerides, as can birth control pills and the use of progesterone. If you are taking any of these, especially if in middle age, it is important to get cholesterol testing and a triglyceride test on a regular basis. Other medications that affect triglyceride count include beta-blockers, steroids and diuretics and water pills.
There are many steps to a healthier life, including watching your triglyceride levels.
An excellent supplement that includes many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete&™ (click here to view) which will lower triglyceride naturally as well as create a healthier cholesterol ratio without the dangerous side effects associated with various prescription medications.
It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the "bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the "good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body and reduces the risks of heart attack and stroke. This formula can get excellent results (often 40 pts. in 40 days!).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Triglycerides
Some foods have been shown to be very effective at lowering triglycerides when you also reduce sugars and trans-fats. The fat found in fish, called omega-3 fatty acids, can help to lower triglyceride levels.
To consume the amount of omega-3 fat that is needed to lower triglycerides, your doctor may recommend that you buy a fish oil supplement. Always ask your doctor first. To get more omega-3 fats in your diet, choose two or more meals of fatty fish (such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna or tilapia) each week or include plant-based forms of omega-3 in your diet, such as soy foods, canola oil, flax seeds and walnuts.
We also recommend our Omega 3-6-9 Complete&™ (click here to view). This is a comprehensive blend of Fish Oil, Borage Oil, and Organic Flax Seed Oil. This combination provides a unique balance of Omega-3 and Omega 6, plus Omega-9 and Vitamin E.
An excellent cholesterol supplement that include many important natural ingredients is Cholesterol Complete™ (click here to view). It’s a powerful all-natural formula that targets both types of cholesterol; LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein). LDL is the cholesterol you should be most concerned with, it is the “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and raises blood pressure. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps remove LDL from the body. You’re supporting healthy cholesterol with 100% natural approach!