What causes high triglycerides is probably the first question you have when you get a diagnosis of hypertriglyceridemia. To best understand, let’s check out the basics, which includes understanding what triglycerides are.
Triglycerides are fat molecules that are usually found in our blood stream. It is also considered as the main source of energy and the most well-known kind of fat in the body.
When you eat foods, the body will consume the calories needed for energy. The excess calories are then stored in the adipose, or fat, cells which can be used later on. So, if you continue to consume additional calories, then you are probably dealing with high triglyceride levels.
When you have too many triglycerides, this condition is known as hypertriglyceridemia, a condition that can cause problems such as heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.
To detect this problem, a blood test called lipid profile is done. Once the doctor has the results, he or she will then determine and plan the right treatment for you to bring your triglycerides back to normal which is 150 mg/dL or less. Ideally, for the best health, your triglyceride level should be about 100 mg/dl after fasting 8 or more hours.
Foods That Cause High Triglyceride
The main source of high levels of triglycerides is your diet. Excess calories are converted into triglycerides, where they are stored in the fat cells to be called upon for energy later on.
Sugar in carbohydrates is another common source. We know that carbohydrates provide our body with the energy that it needs. When less sugar is burned out from carbohydrates, the left-over sugar is converted into triglycerides.
Another food that causes high triglycerides is saturated fat. Saturated fats are found in animal products like meat, cheese, milk, butter and so on.
Decrease your intake of saturated fats by buying foods with low-fat content and cut all visible fat off meats. Also buy lean meat, reduced-fat cheese and low-fat milk.
When cooking, use olive oil instead of butter. Instead of buying meats, replace it with plant-based proteins like lentils, peas and beans.
Since triglycerides are fats that circulate in the blood, decreasing dietary intake of unhealthy fat should decrease these levels in the body. High saturated fats can also lead to weight gain.
Triglycerides and Alcohol
When it comes to causes of high triglycerides, alcohol is a real problem and for three very important reasons.
The first is that any alcohol consumption has been also shown to increase your triglyceride levels. Alcohol processes into sugar, which, in excess, is converted into triglycerides.
The second reason alcohol and high triglycerides don’t mix is that alcohol is a great source of excess calories, which, as you now know, is stored as triglycerides, or fat.
The third reason is that alcohol has been shown to prevent the burning of fat by about 30%. So, if you are dealing with an excess of fat and eating fat when you drink alcohol (think “beer and nuts”), you aren’t metabolizing that fat at a healthy rate.
No alcohol at all is the best, especially if you are dealing with extremely high triglycerides. If you are going to drink, limit it to just one drink. Avoiding alcohol is really helpful in lowering your triglyceride levels and reducing your risk for heart diseases.
Some Medication Causes High Triglycerides
There are also medications like steroids, diuretics, birth control pills and beta blockers that can cause an increase in your blood’s triglyceride levels. If you are taking these medicines and end up with high triglycerides, you need to see your doctor about stopping them or changing to another medication. Don’t just stop taking them.
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