So, you have high triglycerides and you already know that alcohol can raise your triglycerides even more. But, do you have to totally quit drinking? Is there any alcohol that you can drink and enjoy knowing that it won’t cause your triglyceride levels to skyrocket?
Drinking alcohol can increase your triglyceride level in several ways:
- Alcohol is extra calories that are quickly metabolized by the body. It needs no digestion. It rapidly gets to the liver where it is immediately processed. Because the liver stops its work on the fatty acids, or triglycerides, to take care of the alcohol, the triglycerides begin to accumulate. This causes a rise in the triglyceride levels.
- Alcohol changes the structure of the liver cells and slows down the liver’s ability to process fats. This is the second way that triglycerides begin to accumulate and the levels rise. This is also the beginning of fatty liver disease.
- Alcohol also finds a way to raise people’s triglyceride levels indirectly. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, drinking (especially beer) is often accompanied by foods that are high in salts and fat. The Nachos, beer, pizza, chips and other snacks add a boatload of extra calories which turn into excess triglycerides.
Basically, all alcohol acts the same way, no matter its source. It makes no difference if it is beer, wine or hard liquor. Once it gets into your body, your body processes it in the same way. So, there is no single liquor that will raise your triglycerides the least. But, if you still want to drink, perhaps there are some changes you can make to enjoy an occasional cocktail or nightcap.
Making The Decision To Drink In Spite Of High Triglycerides
Before deciding to drink in spite of having high triglycerides, find out the current state of your triglyceride health. If you are dealing with very high triglycerides, you really should do all you can to reduce them to a safe level. The goal is to have a fasting triglyceride level of less than 100 mg/dl. That is considered the prime triglyceride level to prevent diseases like diabetes, liver disease and heart disease. To reach your optimal goal, you need to do all you can in terms of dietary changes and that includes abstaining from alcohol. At least during this crucial time.
If you change your diet by adopt a low fat, low glycemic, high fiber diet, and lose any excess weight you should see your triglycerides get lower. If you are on the right track, you can try adding a drink or two a week. But watch your triglyceride levels. If they begin to increase and you have made no other changes than drinking alcohol, that’s your sign to cut back once again
If you choose to reduce your triglycerides with a prescription med and make no diet changes, or half-heartedly change your diet, then drinking alcohol will only make your body work harder and your meds less effective. You are heading into a sad future of health problems which could include heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
If you have fatty liver disease, you have liver damage. There is no room for alcohol in your life if you want to live a long, healthy and active life.
But, if you are free of fatty liver disease, have successfully reduced your high triglycerides to the optimal fasting level through diet alone, and, if you have no other health issues, then a daily serving of alcohol might be just fine. Oh, yes, what liquor raises your triglycerides the least? It really doesn’t matter as long as you limit it to one serving. For people who enjoy hard liquor, switching from various sodas to club soda can keep sugar and calories lower. If your preference is beer, opt for a lite beer. A serving of wine, no matter what color, might be ok, too, once you get your triglycerides under control.