Diets That Can Help Lower Triglycerides
There is evidence that the following diets can be beneficial for lowering triglycerides:
- Mediterranean: this diet is rich in lean protein, fiber, and healthy fats including omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. All of these components help to lower triglycerides. Signos has covered this diet extensively on the blog and has tips to help you follow this diet.
- Low carb: we know that if we donât burn off our carbs they will be eventually stored as triglycerides. Reducing your carb intake and following a low-carb diet can help lower your triglycerides.Â¹â°
What Specific Foods Should I Eat On Keto To Also Maintain Good Cholesterol
Consuming mostly unsaturated fats, compared to saturated fats, while on a keto diet may improve cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats are found in foods such as:
- Plant oils like olive, avocado, sunflower, corn, and canola oils
- Fatty fish, including salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
- Nuts and nut butters, including peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, and walnuts
- Seeds, such as flax, sesame, sunflower, and chia
The keto diet is also typically lower in fiber, so maximizing the small number of carbohydrates allowed while following keto can benefit not only cholesterol levels but also gut health. Choosing non-starchy fruits and vegetables like avocados, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach can help.
Additionally, many people cannot follow the keto diet in the long term, so having a clear and defined plan for how to transition off the keto diet is important to help retain any positive health benefits acquired.
Putting It All Together
Improving triglyceride levels is simple. From a dietary perspective, all you have to do is two things: eat fewer carbs and eat more marine-derived omega 3s.
The best way to do this is by implementing a Mediterranean-style ketogenic diet. To follow this diet correctly, you must:
- Restrict carbohydrate
- Eat plenty of nuts, olives/olive oil, low-carb vegetables, and fatty fish like sardines and salmon
To enhance your results, you can also:
- Restrict calories to lose weight
- Implement a sleep schedule and improve sleep quality
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
- Supplement with marine-derived omega 3s, curcumin, niacin, and/or garlic extract
- Eat more MCTs from coconut oil or an MCT oil supplement
- Avoid alcohol, trans fats, and added sugar
However, even if you implement these triglyceride lowering suggestions flawlessly, you will only know if they worked by getting a blood test.
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Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides.
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What Are Triglycerides
Triglycerides are the most potent source of fuel that you store in your body. They are so energy-dense that stored triglycerides can keep the body going for about a month.
Where exactly are stored triglycerides found in your body? Well, you already know. You just call it fat instead of stored triglycerides.
Yes, triglycerides are the things that are being stored in your fat cells. While we are fasting, restricting carbohydrates, or limiting calories, these triglycerides are liberated from our fat cells to provide us with energy. This process is what helps us lose fat and reduce our triglyceride levels.
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You Can Be In Control
With the above steps, you can take control by designing your own experiments to see how you can best alter your lab results. Just remember to focus on your entire health picture the goal should be lowering your LDL without losing any of your low-carb benefits. Work with your doctor to ensure safety and efficacy. And if you need a doctor more familiar with low carb, be sure to check out our low-carb doctors directory.
This is a hypothesis that has not been proven in long-term studies but is based on some data suggesting that smaller LDL particles have a higher association with cardiac risk than do larger particles, as well as that LDL-P is a better measure of risk than LDL-C as referenced in the text.
The above reasoning is likely most applicable when dealing with small to moderate rises in LDL-C. When LDL-C rises more dramatically, the level of concern should also increase, as we do not have any data proving that very high LDL-C is safe. & larrhk
This is based on clinical experience of low-carb practitioners and was unanimously agreed upon by our low-carb expert panel . You can learn more about our panel here.& larrhk
Eat More Medium Chain Triglycerides
Yes, you read that correctly. To improve health and triglyceride levels, you should consume more triglycerides. But make sure they are the medium-chain kind of triglyceride.
MCTs are different from the long chain triglycerides that we commonly find in dairy and meat because they skip the normal process of fat digestion and go straight to the liver. In the liver, the MCTs are often converted into ketones for fuel.
For this reason, many studies have found MCTs to increase weight loss when compared to other healthy fats like olive oil. Believe it or not, MCTs also have been found to decrease triglycerides more than olive oil as well.
Coconut oil is the best natural source of MCTs . However, if you need an unmistakable energy boost that eliminates your cravings right away, then supplement with pure MCT oil. Blend it into your morning coffee or keto pumpkin spice latte or use it as the oil for your salad dressings.
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Mismanaged Type 2 Diabetes
One of the most common chronic illnesses in the United States is type 2 diabetes. The CDC estimates that 37.3 million Americans have it, and as many as 96 million are pre-diabetic. Studies have shown that high triglyceride levels have links to poor blood glucose control. If you have diabetes and donât correctly manage it, you may find your triglyceride levels climbing, potentially worsening your diabetes. So, controlling your triglyceride levels may help you handle type 2 diabetes.
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How Genetics Plays A Part
While the ketogenic diet may be safe for most people, it might not be healthy for others to follow. A ketogenic diet could increase LDL cholesterol levels in some people at high risk for heart attack and stroke.
In particular, people with an inherited condition called familial hypercholesterolemia should always consult with their healthcare provider before trying a ketogenic diet. Familial hypercholesterolemia is marked by very high LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of premature heart disease. The American Heart Association has state that only 10% of people with familial hypercholesterolemia are aware they have it.
Additionally, some people have a rare genetic condition that affects how LDL particles are regulated, causing high LDL cholesterol levels. The genetics causing this response isnt completely understood, but the APOE gene, which provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein e, may be one of several factors involved. People who have this inherited genetic condition should avoid the keto diet.
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Why Your Triglycerides Levels Matter
High levels of triglycerides, also called hypertriglyceridemia, can be an indicator that your metabolic health needs a little TLC. Too many triglycerides in the blood increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, weight gain, and carrying more adipose tissues.
Adipose tissue are hormonally active tissues that can cause an oversecretion of insulin and may lead to insulin resistance.Â¹ Resistant insulin can not efficiently remove glucose from your bloodstream, and blood sugar levels can rise. This increases your risk of diabetes.
Ketogenic Diet In A Crossfit Group
Studying healthy people, a 12-week investigation looked at the effects of a ketogenic diet in people who regularly trained in CrossFit. Twelve people participated in the study involving the high-intensity, interval-training workout. Five of the study participants were in the control group and continued eating a regular diet, while seven people followed a ketogenic diet.
The study concluded that changes in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides were not significant and were similar among participants in both groups. In contrast, LDL cholesterol increased nearly 35% in those following the keto diet along with CrossFit.
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Know Your Carbohydrate Threshold
One more option to consider, which may be the most effective, is increasing the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Sometimes it pays to ask, do you need to be in ketosis? Or would a low-carb diet of 50 or even 100 grams of carbs suffice for your health goals?
If you have controlled your diabetes and want to make sure it remains controlled, or if you are treating another medical condition with ketosis, then you might need to remain in ketosis make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
If, however, you tried a ketogenic diet primarily to reduce your cravings and lose a little weight, you may find you can safely increase your carb intake without undoing most of the benefits you experienced.14
One group of authors published a study including five case reports of patients who saw a dramatic rise in their LDL levels while eating a strict low-carb diet.15 By increasing their daily carb intake to 50-100 grams per day, these individuals reduced their LDL from between 100 mg/dL to 480 mg/dL . While these are extreme examples, they highlight the ability of moderate carbohydrate intake to reduce LDL in low-carb hyper-responders.
See our detailed guide on carbohydrate intake for more information.
How Do They Impact The Body
The presence of triglycerides in the body isnt a bad thing, as we all have a certain number of them within our blood.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that a reading lower than 90 milligrams per deciliter is recommended for adults, and if you have consistently higher levels around 150 mg/dl, you will be diagnosed with high triglycerides and need to make some changes.
When you have higher levels of triglycerides in the body, it can greatly increase your risk for a whole range of other issues.
Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and pancreatitis are just a few common conditions that can occur when youre not able to manage these levels and get them back to a safer reading.
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How Does The Mediterranean Diet Help Lower Cholesterol
This diet emphasizes plant-based sources are beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish.
Additionally, this diet is high in fibre, thus lowering your cholesterol levels. It also keeps your digestive system functioning well.
Since the Mediterranean diet plan keeps you stomach full, you will feel less hungry. What makes the diet perfect is its low content of saturated fat and refined sugars.
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How To Know If Your Triglyceride Levels Are Optimal
All you have to do is set up an appointment with your doctor to get a standard blood test done. Ask your doctor to print the results for you, and track your progress at after appointment.
According to the American Heart Association, these are the triglyceride level ranges:
|Very high||500 mg/dL or higher|
Aim for optimal triglyceride levels, but dont forget about cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well.
To see if you have healthier cholesterol levels, check your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. A ratio between 3 and 4 indicates that you have healthy cholesterol levels and are at a substantially reduced risk of heart disease. When it comes to blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar levels should be below 100 mg/dl.
It is also important to take note of your posture before you get your blood drawn. For example, different positions, like sitting, standing, and laying down, can cause triglycerides to vary significantly. Because of this, the American Heart Association recommends that you sit for at least 5 minutes in the same position each time you get your blood drawn to minimize variability in triglyceride measurements.
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Will Going Vegan Help Me Lose Weight
People find that switching to a plant-based diet helped them to eat a wider range of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, which sometimes equated to weight loss.
However, to ensure weight loss on a vegan diet, you would still need to create a calorie deficit each day and keep up with regular exercise.
Foods To Lower Triglycerides
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Taking Supplements To Lower Triglycerides
The data show that diet and exercise are practical approaches for lowering triglycerides. However, for some people, lifestyle changes may not be enough. In that case, it may be worth discussing supplements with your healthcare provider.
Heres a list of possible choices.36
- Niacin: 2,000 to 3,000 mg per day37
- Berberine: 500 mg twice daily38
- Fish oil: Eicosapentaenoic acid 2 to 4 grams per day 39
- Curcumin: 80 to 100 mg daily40
- Fenugreek: 10 grams per day41
Increased Risk Of Pancreatitis
Severely elevated triglycerides is the third most common risk factor for pancreatitis but causes only around 4% of all cases. Gallstones and alcoholism are much more common, comprising approximately 70% of all cases.56
Individuals with triglycerides above 1,000 mg/dL have a 5% chance of developing pancreatitis, and that increases to 10 to 20% for levels above 2,000 mg/dL . For reference, the general population risk of pancreatitis is just 0.5%.57
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What Are Triglycerides And Why Are They Important
“Triglycerides are a type of blood lipid and they’re made up of free fatty acids. They’re stored in your body fat, but you’ll also find them in your blood,” says nutritionist Jessica Ash, CNC, HHC, FDN-P and founder of Jessica Ash Wellness. “And because your liver makes them, they’re also found in your liver and then your tissues. Our body gets triglycerides either from the food that you eat or from the body it manufactures triglycerides in the liver.”
“It’s important to know that triglycerides, like cholesterol, are normally protective . But triglycerides are used for energy, whereas cholesterol is used for steroid hormone production,” Ash explains. “And our muscles are specifically what like to uptake fatty acids or triglycerides. So they’re fatty acids that the body usually uses for energy.”
Your body needs energy from food to function. But excess energy, especially from sources like simple carbohydrates, can be stored as triglycerides, which can create issues if your triglyceride levels are elevated above the normal range. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your triglycerides are over 150 mg/dL, then you’re at a greater risk for developing heart disease.
Cut Your Sugar Intake
If the Standard American Diet is high in anything, its high in sugar.
Thats right. The average American eats about 152 pounds of sugar every year!.
Added sugar comes from sweetened drinks, baked goods, candy, desserts almost anything that comes in a package. That includes the purple Kool-Aid at the gas station.
And yes, added sugar in the diet means added sugar in the blood.
Your liver then turns that sugar to triglycerides. Its a safety mechanism, if you recall, to prevent dangerous hyperglycemia.
Those triglycerides, unfortunately, end up as body fat or visceral fat around your organs. They also end up in your blood, where you can measure them.
In one study, researchers found that fructose and high fructose corn syrup significantly increased triglyceride levels in young men and women for 24 hours following ingestion.
After 24 hours, however, their serum triglycerides returned to baseline. Where did all those triglycerides go? They were probably stored away.
Another study found that sugar intake was linked to higher triglyceride levels in children.
Low-carb, low-sugar diets, on the other hand, are linked to lower triglyceride levels. More on that now.
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