Following a triglycerides diet is the number one way to lower most cases of high triglycerides. This certainly would make sense as a major factor of an elevated triglyceride level is dietary choices combined with other lifestyle habits. As it does with cholesterol, your body makes triglycerides when it needs them. However, the majority of the triglycerides measured in your blood come from the food you eat.
The primary food sources of triglycerides are fat and refined carbohydrates. Another food that should be either avoided or restricted on a triglycerides diet is alcohol. But, any excess calories you eat from any food source get converted by the liver into triglycerides. These are then stored as fat, ready to be used when you need the energy.
Typically, your body regulates the amount of triglycerides circulating in your blood stream. But, when you routinely consume an excess, your body can’t always handle that. So, the amount in your blood rises as your body works hard to process the excess. This processing is done by the liver. And, in the average American eating the average American diet, the liver is working overtime trying to process not only the excess triglycerides, but also the excess cholesterol, too.
Other factors contributing to the high triglyceride level that need to be addressed with a change in diet is chronically eating too many calories, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Actually, all of these are basically intertwined- eating too many calories leads to obesity which can lead to metabolic syndrome. There are other causes of high triglycerides that are addressed elsewhere in this website.
Overall, the dietary changes you need to make to lower your triglyceride level are these:
- Eliminate excess calories
- Reduce total fat calories to less than 30% of total calories
- Reduce amount of saturated fat to less than 7% of your calories
- Increase your total Omega-3 fatty acid intake to 4 grams per day
- Eliminate or decrease your alcohol consumption
- Reduce calories, if overweight, to lose weight
To make these changes easily without feeling deprived, look to substitute good, wholesome foods for the unhealthy ones. To begin, make fresh or frozen vegetables or fruit the base of your diet. Then build on that with whole grains. Then, low-fat protein sources and beans. For fats, stay with the poly-unsaturated type. And eat processed sweets only occasionally.
One hidden source of triglycerides you may be unaware of is soda and fruit juice. Both of these are concentrated carbohydrates that we Americans consume too much of.