Report From Adventist Health Study
In 2013, cross-sectional data on BMI were released from the Adventist health Study-2 .
|Table 7. Body Mass Index in Adventist Health Study-2|
The differences between the vegans and meat-eaters was accounted for mostly by differences in protein, polyunsaturated fat, and fiber intake. The authors note that protein intakes influence on weight has not been reported often in the literature, but there is some mention of it altering hormones in a way that increases abdominal fat. They also note that low fiber intakes have been previously associated with higher body weight and this is thought to be via making people feel full on less calories, insulin control, and reducing fat absorption.
Why Do Some Vegans Have High Triglyceride Levels
Theres something you need to understand about those above studies.
The vegan diets in these studies are designed to be healthy. In other words, theyre not eating vegan junk food or tons of white bread and fake meats , but instead whole foods like beans and vegetables.
For example, another study by one of those above authors also found that putting people on a very high fiber vegan diet led to a decrease in all cholesterol markers .
Theres one more study that we need to look at to get a complete picture.
This study found that diets high in processed carbohydrates increase triglycerides, while diets high in fiber and low-glycemic index foods lower triglycerides .
When To Get Your Tgs Tested
The American Heart Association recommends that everyone has a blood cholesterol test by the age of 20. Ideally, this test will include triglycerides. If you are overweight, obese, or considered at risk for heart disease, earlier testing is preferable. Harvard Health suggest getting tested at least every five years after the age of 20.
You might also want to get your labs done if you eat a lot of carbohydrates, have switched to a plant-based diet, lack energy, or have recently gained weight. Knowing your TG levels puts you in a far better position to make positive changes in your diet and lifestyle.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
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How To Lower Triglycerides On A Vegan Diet
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in our blood, and if youve recently visited the doctor and had some bloodwork done, you might have been told that your levels are high.
There are a number of things you can do to lower them, but one of the most effective is taking on a vegan diet.
Can vegan diet help with triglycerides? Many of the changes that occur when someone switches to a plant-based diet like eating healthier fats, reducing refined sugar intake, and eating lots of fiber can help reduce triglyceride levels.
Going vegan can be an effective way to manage your levels and deliver a host of other health benefits.
As a predecessor to many cardiovascular issues, learning to manage your triglycerides is essential for your health. Well five into how to lower triglycerides vegan style, and see why a plant-based diet can be so beneficial.
Tips For Reducing Cholesterol Levels In A Vegan Diet
- Exercise regularly. This can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and support healthy cholesterol levels for any lifestyle.
- Limit Alcohol consumption heavy drinking has been associated with increased triglycerides and is one of the first things to reduce as part of any healthy diet.
- Stop smoking among other negative outcomes, smoking is linked to reducing HDL cholesterol
- Take an omega-3 supplement There are vegan options available and they help to reduce triglyceride levels and increase HDL cholesterol.
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Which Foods To Avoid
Avoid alcohol, added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat. Alcohol is known to increase triglyceride levels which can lead to cardiovascular disease . Added sugars are also high in calories and cause insulin resistance, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease . Refined carbs and saturated fats both contribute to higher blood triglyceride levels which over time will contribute to plaque buildup in the circulatory system and heart disease.
Look At Your Medications
There are some medications known to increase triglyceride levels while you take them, which doesnt necessarily mean you have an unhealthy lifestyle.
Some acne medications, oral contraceptives, androgens, and steroids can raise levels so its worth speaking to your doctor about if these could be the potential cause.
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What Other Lifestyle Changes Help Lower Triglycerides
Lifestyle strategies are a way to lower triglycerides naturally.
Weight loss has a positive effect on triglycerides. For every 5% to 10% weight reduction, triglycerides may be lowered by 20%. Another way to look at this: For every kilogram lost, triglycerides may be reduced by 2%.
Increasing physical activity lowers triglycerides.
- Aerobic activity of any kind, especially when done after a meal, uses up triglycerides that are in the blood ready to be used as fuel. This not only lowers triglycerides but also helps with abdominal obesity.
- Exercise is most effective for lowering triglycerides when they are very elevated. If triglycerides are optimal , exercise will not further lower the level.
All together, intensive lifestyle strategies can reduce triglycerides by 50% or more over a year. Lifestyle strategies can enable people to effectively reduce triglycerides without medicine or drugs, plus there are many other positive effects on other aspects of health and well-being. This is the recommended approach of the American Heart Association for anyone with triglycerides greater than optimal .
Foods That Could Help Lower Triglycerides
Chances are, you’ve heard that having healthy triglyceride levels in your blood is important. But what exactly are triglycerides, and how do they work in your body? And when you have high levels, is it possible to manage them with lifestyle, and can food make a difference? The good news is, according to food and health pros, what you eat can help. We’ve rounded up some of the foods that can lower triglycerides, and there are plenty of whole foods on the list.
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Other Causes Of High Triglycerides
High TGs are typically caused by diet and lifestyle. In some cases, however, high triglycerides can result from genetic polymorphisms that affect how your body converts fat into energy .
High TG levels may also be traced back to an underactive thyroid . If youre a woman in her mid-thirties to forties, and/or have just had a baby, changes in thyroid function are pretty common. A good family doctor will usually suggest a full thyroid panel around this age. If not, consider requesting a check-up, particularly for TSH .
A whole raft of drugs can also affect triglyceride levels. These include:
- Oral contraceptive and hormone replacement therapy
- Some immunosuppressants
- Some antiretrovirals / HIV medications.
To be clear, Im in no way suggesting that you should stop taking any such medications if your test results show high TG levels. Instead, talk to your health care practitioner for guidance on how to manage TG levels alongside any other medical conditions for which youre taking medications.
What Vitamins And Supplements Help Lower Triglyceride Levels
Fish oil lowers triglycerides. The dose needed to reduce triglycerides is 1 to 4 grams of EPA/DHA per day. Four grams per day has been shown to reduce triglycerides by 25% to 30%. People with the highest triglycerides benefit most. It is worth noting that non-marine omega 3 fatty acids do not appear to lower triglycerides in the same way. The prescription form of synthetic omega-3 fatty acids, Lovasa, Vascepa, or Epanova is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for people with triglycerides over 500 mg/dL.
Niacin is another supplement for lowering triglycerides. Both regular and extended-release nicotinic acid has been shown to reduce triglycerides by up to 40% . Niacin has the added benefit of increasing HDL and lowering LDL. The high doses of niacin needed to lower triglycerides can cause uncomfortable flushing in some people. To avoid this, niacin can be taken with baby aspirin, with food, or with an extended-release form of niacin/nicotinic acid . Inositol-hexanicotinate, marketed as no-flush niacin, is NOT the same thing and contains very little nicotinic acid.
Fibers, such as chia, flax, psyllium, or bran, help lower triglycerides. Fibrates, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that have been used for decades, also have a triglyceride-lowering effect through the same general mechanisms.
There are other supplements with limited research supporting their benefit in hypertriglyceridemia.
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Table : Triglyceride Ranges
|Immune System Medications|
In terms of lifestyle, diet, drink, and exercise all play a role in triglyceride levels. One recent review states that those people eating plant-based diets, over the long term, consistently have lower triglyceride levels, but interventional trials have been less consistent. Randomized control trials show that triglycerides may either increase or decrease when switching to a plant-based diet most trials reviewed show that triglycerides either go up or down by less than roughly 25 in either direction. In addition, excessive alcohol intake, as well as a sedentary lifestyle, can raise triglycerides.
So what do we do about a high triglyceride level? When it comes to medications the recommendations can be a bit fuzzy. There is no great evidence that driving down mild to moderate triglyceride levels, with medications specifically targeted at triglyceride levels, significantly improves cardiovascular disease risks. In the context of relatively normal cholesterol results, the standard treatment of borderline to mild hypertriglyceridemia is lifestyle changes, if there is no other obvious cause . As an aside, those people with very high or severe range triglycerides may be at increased risk of pancreatitis, and prescribing medication to specifically lower triglycerides in this case is often indicated.
A special thank you to Tomi, who posed this question to us on the .
Additional Points To Consider:
- Avoid all dairy and meat products completely, including eggs and Ghee.
- Limit or completely avoid the consumption of oil’s. Use no more than a tbsp if you must per day.
- Start your meals raw. This could be with a fruit or salad. Plants have phytosterols that help reduce the bad cholesterol.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on your breakfast each day.
- Consume the juice of one amla per day.
- Avoid juices and processed sugar. Consume smoothies or whole fruits instead.
- Stay away from processed grains like white rice and maida. Stick to whole grains as they are beneficial.
To control cholesterol and triglycerides, you must understand the difference between high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . Additionally, focus on the food you eat to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the body and keep your heart healthy.
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What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol
Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins or high-density lipoproteins . LDL cholesterol, which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, is necessary in limited quantities , but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your risk of a heart attack. Thats because LDL particles can contribute to atherosclerosisor clogged arteries. HDL cholesterolsometimes called good cholesterolhelps clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
When doctors measure cholesterol levels, they first look at total cholesterol as a quick way to assess a persons risk. For a more exact guide, they divide the total level by the HDL level. Heart attack risk is minimized by having a lower total cholesterol and a higher proportion of HDL cholesterol. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 4 to 1.
Unfortunately, the average American man has a ratio of 5 to 1. Vegetarians, on the other hand, average about 3 to 1. Smoking and obesity lower HDL vigorous exercise and foods rich in vitamin C may increase it.
What Diet Is Best For Lowering Cholesterol
Studies have found that plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets. In 2017, researchers reviewed 49 studies that compared plant-based diets with omnivorous diets to test their effects on cholesterol. Plant-based diets lowered total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels when compared to omnivorous diets. Low-fat, plant-based regimens typically reduce LDL levels by about 15 to 30 percent.
Some recommendations for lowering cholesterol still include consuming chicken and fish. However, a number of studies have shown that heart disease patients who continue to eat these foods still tend to get worse over time. Those who adopt a low-fat, plant-based diet, get daily exercise, avoid tobacco, and manage stress have the best chance of reversing heart disease.
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Do Vegans Have High Cholesterol
Numerous studies have reported that people following vegan diets are more likely to have lower cholesterol levels, including total and LDL levels than someone on an omnivorous diet.
However, simply going vegan isnt enough to guarantee lower cholesterol as you still have to be mindful about how you eat and other lifestyle choices.
How Do Vegans Lower Triglycerides
Some vegetables are particularly common, such as leafy greens, green beans, and squash. Citrus fruits, berries, and other fruits come into the picture frequently. Cheese, yogurt, and milk are dairy products of low or fat-free milks. Among these fiber-fortified whole grains are quinoa, barley, and brown rice, which contains about 25g of fiber.
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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.
Is One Diet Better For Cholesterol
You might wonder if a certain diet could give you a cholesterol-lowering edge. For instance, is it best to become a traditional vegetarian? Or would a vegan diet be better for your heart?
It may depend on you and your health. Kris-Etherton says some people could see benefits from a vegetarian or vegan diet. But many people can improve their health with a diet that includes nutritious animal-based foods.
âIâm a strong advocate of seafood,â Kris-Etherton says. âIt has all sorts of health benefits. And so, eating a lot of plant-based foods and seafood can be really very healthy.â
Low- or nonfat dairy products can also be part of a nutritious eating plan, she says.
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Body Mass Index Over Time As A Vegan
A 1996 letter to the editor of the British Medical Journal from the authors of the EPIC-Oxford study reported BMI according to the time on current diet . The number in each group were:
- 1,652 Vegan
- 3,776 Pesco
- 6,850 Non-Veg
The actual BMIs were not given, but a graph was provided . The graph shows that those on a vegan diet for more than 5 years had the lowest BMI, followed by those on a vegan diet for less than 5 years, for both men and women. This is impressive, as most weight loss is not sustained for more than one year. Of course, weight loss can sometimes be difficult even for vegans, and some people actually gain weight after becoming vegan. But, on average, the evidence supports the notion that becoming vegan is conducive to permanent weight loss.
In 2006, a report from EPIC-Oxford showed that over a 5 year period, vegans had the lowest weight-gain compared to meat-eaters, fish-eaters, and lacto-ovo vegetarians. The group who had switched to a diet of eating less animal products had the lowest weight gain of all. The group of people who reverted to a diet of more animal products had the most weight-gain, but this was not statistically significant. All groups had some weight gain over the 5 year period.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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