How To Cut Your Triglycerides in Half…Without Pills – Part 2*
Sure, drugs like Lovaza, Niacin and Statins will reduce triglycerides.
Most people see about a 30% reduction if you follow recommended dosage for Lovaza. Your mileage may vary. If your triglycerides were at 300, Lovaza can get you to 200. But that’s still high.
How I cut my Triglycerides by more than half!
This is a personal journey. Your results will certainly vary.
Very high triglycerides run in my family. There are 12-year-olds with 1200 Triglycerides. I wasn’t quite that unlucky.
My triglyceride once came in at a scary 666 and stayed between 600 and 700 for 20 years.
Once I turned 40, this started to worry me a little. That was 4 years ago. A couple of years of research and experiments on myself resulted in a 400 point drop in triglycerides.
There is no reason why you can’t expect similar results too!
The triglyceride drop didn’t happen overnight.
Step 1: Quitting soda and orange juice (daily staples).
Result: TG dropped to about 400 and stayed there. This change in diet made a huge impact.
Step 2: I started taking 4,000 mg Omega-3 and exercising vigorously daily.
Result: TG dropped to 250. I was a little disappointed. I was hoping Omega-3 alone would be a magic bullet that fixed the problem for good. Nope. Not for me. Sure, fish oil and daily exercise dropped my triglycerides by over 30%, but that still wasn’t enough.
250 was a lot less scary than 666, but 250 is still high.
Individual results may vary.
Step 3: I stopped eating wheat, flour and all grains.
Result: TG dropped to 150. And it will stay there as long as I don’t indulge in pastries, beer, wine or fruits.
These three steps did not happen quickly. The whole period took a few years. It took me a few weeks to actually give up Sprite and orange juice. Taking fish oil supplements was the easy part. Still, neither of those changes really affected what I ate.
Giving up wheat and grains was a big change. No more pizza, pasta, bread, breakfast cereals, bagels, cookies and croissants.
You may not need to take such drastic dietary measures. But if you belong to the 25% of population who are sugar-sensitive, folks with an elevated insulin response to sugars and carbohydrates, well, then, you may need to consider a drastic diet change.
Talk to your doctor and find out if you have an elevated insulin response to carbs. If you do, well, Lovaza or fish oil alone may not cut it.
This method for reducing triglycerides is not new. It has worked for others, like Dr. David Diamond, a neuroscientist from the University of South Florida. Please watch his YouTube lecture – it is worth your time. I promise.
The Triglyceride Diet:
What to eat and avoid:
What to avoid:
- flour (baked goods)
It doesn’t matter if the above are natural, organic, whole-grain, steel-cut, multi-grain, sun-dried, super-earthy, extra-crunchy or warm and cuddly. They will all raise your triglycerides and your risk for poor heart health.
Aren’t whole grains supposed to be good for you?
‘Healthy whole grains’ are fine ONLY if you are part of the population that has a ‘blunt’ response to starches. In other words, there is no spike in insulin after a donut and bagel breakfast. Only 2 or 3 out of 10 people fall in this lucky group.
Makes you wonder why everyone is pushing whole grains like it’s the next best thing since sliced bread mom and apple pie .
Whole grains are not for everyone. If you’re reading this, chances are it’s not for you.
There are several studies that show people who switched from white, refined flour to whole grains significantly improved their risk for heart health and diabetes. True. If you have a high triglyceride problem, this is like switching from unfiltered cigarettes to filtered cigarettes. Scary analogy, but you get my point…
What’s OK to eat:
- vegetables (steamed or sautéed in olive oil)
- meats (preferably grass-fed and pastured)
- fruits (moderate amounts, with a focus on dark berries)
- generous amounts of olive oil
Go ahead and add dark chocolate and cheese if you want some snack variety. And may be coconut oil if you want something new.
Why it’s Important to Limit Starch (Carbs)
By now, you get the connection between carbs and triglycerides.
- High triglycerides allow your liver to make more VLDL (very low density lipoprotein.) Not good.
- VLDL makes your LDL (bad) cholesterol smaller. Smaller the LDL size, nastier they are. Not good at all.
- Small LDL is the beast that causes plaque formation in your artery wall. Yikes.
Meats and fats are not evil. Hard to believe? Read the science for yourself here.
Replacement of saturated fat by carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates and added sugars, increases levels of triglyceride and small LDL particles and reduces high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, effects that are of particular concern in the context of the increased prevalence of obesity and insulin resistance.
– Current Atherosclerosis Reports
It’s sugar and starch that spike your triglycerides and THAT’S what you need to watch out for!
Different Ways to View the Triglyceride Diet:
1. Eat only whole foods found naturally in nature.
A tomato is a whole food. Ketchup isn’t.
An orange is a whole food. Orange juice isn’t.
Peanuts are whole food. Peanut butter isn’t.
Beef is a whole food. Jerky isn’t.
You get the idea.
2. Eat only foods sold around the outer walls of your grocery store.
Avoid all the aisles along the middle of your grocery where processed foods are. No, it’s not a coincidence that the stuff that’s good for you are farthest away from the front door. These are low-profit items. The juicy profits are in packaged and processed foods in the middle of the grocery store. But that’s a rant for another day.
3. Do not eat anything that comes out of a box, can or a bag.
Just about every processed food is packaged this way. Nothing healthy ever came in a printed box!
4. Only eat foods that will go bad in a few days or weeks.
Talk to Your Doctor!
Find out how your insulin levels react to starches. Find out if you should take statins, Lovaza or Niacin.
Here’s a chart from the Harvard Heart Letter that outlines medical options for triglycerides.
Sure, these drugs work. But remember, you may not be addressing the root cause of the problem. Drugs usually just hide the symptoms. Someone once told me that if Tylenol gets rid of headaches, a headache does not mean you have Tylenol-deficiency.
Address the root cause and the problem will go away for good.
The answer is in the Produce section, not the Pharmacy.
* Clinical research suggests the omega-3 dosage needed to help maintain healthy triglycerides is 2000-3000 mg per day when used as part of healthy diet and exercise regimen. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Want the secret to getting the most out of Omega-3s?
Other Articles You May Like…
Why I Don’t Take Multivitamins
How to choose the right Vitamin K2 supplement
Krill Oil Misinformation
Is Paleo diet right for you? Part 3: Gut-friendly starches – a secret weapon
Products Recommended for Heart Health
Omegavia Kid’s Omega-3 Chewies
OmegaVia DHA 600
OmegaVia EPA 500
Good blog post. I have cut down the amount of meat lately due to the link with stomach cancer. However, it seems to be mostly due to grilling the meat and HCAs (the black soot on your meat). Might have to look into the science more. Thanks.
@NM – while there is a connection between processed meats and esophageal and gastric cancer, we still don’t conclusively know if the increased risk is due to the processing or charring of the meat or the meat itself. Some of what I’ve read suggests it is the charring. Besides losing a few nutrients, there is a lot we don’t know about the effects of overcooking meats. The more our diets stray from our hunter-gatherer origins, the riskier our foods become.
– Vin Kutty
I have spent hours reading your articles and surely they are very informative and the best I have come across. I need unbiased recommendation on which fish oil brand is best for the money apart from omegavia and not made in China. I know its hard to tell as you say because there is no labeling where the oil is coming from. I have heard of Norwegian oils and alaskan oils are the best. Please suggest some brands best for the bucks. Thanks and thanks for earlier responses.
Hi Andy – there are a few brands that I really like. Listed here: http://www.omegavia.com/favorite-fish-oil-brands-part-2/ However, the ‘Made in China’ thing is hard to tell…you will have to call up each manufacturer. And you should always consider Nordic Naturals when you’re shopping for Omega-3 supplements. The quality is good and it’s certainly not made in China. But the reason why I did not include them in my list of favorites is that their concentration is usually around 60%. I prefer much stronger oils.
Thanks for the kind words.
In my research to lower mine and my husbands LDl and trig I found info about the COQ10 enzyme being a important component. What is your opinion about taking that along with high omega 3 fish oil supplements?
Hi Annie – yes, there is some research that show CoQ10 can lower LDL cholesterol a little bit. Not much, but a little. I would not take it for the sole purpose of lowering LDL. It’s a good antioxidant and provides a little extra energy for your heart muscles. If you are taking a statin, it is a must. Otherwise, you’ll be able to control LDL better by reducing sugar and carbohydrate content of your diet.
– Vin Kutty
What to eat to lower triglycerides when I mostly eat at panera bread or restaurants. Is the Atkins diet recommended. Thank you
Hi Rina – yes, the Atkins diet is very effective for lowering triglycerides. It will drop your triglycerides quickly and you will also lose a lot of weight even though your calorie intake may be roughly the same as before. But Atkins is not for everyone and I have no idea if it is right for you. I suggest you try it for a month or two but then after that, you’ll want to add more safe starches like vegetables and some fruits. Before you try Atkins, read this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Atkins-You-Ultimate/dp/B005OHSD3A Don’t go into Atkins without having all the facts. Read the book.
And if you eat mostly at Panera and restaurants, in another 5-10 years, triglycerides will not be your only concern. By eating out a lot, you’re probably consuming a lot of refined carbs and pro-inflammatory Omega-6 oils. That’s a dietary time-bomb. But at least you’re asking the right questions. Glad you are.
PS: the only thing I allow myself to eat at Panera is their chicken salad without the dressing. It was awful. I’d rather skip a meal.
what are the pro-inflammatory omega-6 oils that is bad for u? Thank You
Hi Sylvia – Omega-6 by itself are not bad. In fact, they are necessary. We can die if we don’t get enough. The problem is that we get too much of it. Our bodies function ideally when we get roughly equal parts Omega-3 and Omega-6. But our modern American diet provides 10 to 20 times more Omega-6 than Omega-3. This has never happened before in the history of humanity. The problem starts with what happens to the main Omega-6, Linoleic Acid after it is consumed. It can eventually be broken down into Arachidonic Acid, which is the key chemical that gives rise to several other inflammatory molecules. Most over-the-counter pain medications like Aleve, aspirin etc work by blocking Arachidonic Acid’s ability to produce these inflammatory substances. This imbalance does not just control pain – it controls several other key health factors. All of which is made worse by the addition of sugar to the diet. Now if you think if a donut – sugar and flour fried in Omega-6 rich vegetable oil – may be almost as dangerous as cigarettes if eaten in large quantities on a daily basis.
Are you sorry you asked?
– Vin Kutty
Your info is great! I just got info that my TG is too high, near 300. So, I need the info you list. However, unless I missed it, I don’t see dairy products (except for the cheese you mention once). I am a big milk drinker, and love my cheeses and cottage cheese with fruit. So, are diary products good, bad or the ugly?
Hi Mike – milk has a lot of lactose. Lactose is a sugar and can drive up triglycerides. So milk is a no-no.
Non-milk dairy is a gray area – a lot of people have dairy allergies without knowing it. But some people do fine with cheese, yogurt and cream. Dairy fat is a great source of pre-formed Vitamin A and there is emerging evidence that more dairy fat is associated with less obesity and metabolic risk – see this http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-012-0418-1 Sounds counter-intuitive but the mechanics makes sense.
One-quarter of my morning cup of espresso is pasture-raised heavy whipping cream. I don’t hold back on dairy fat. I also regularly cook with ghee and butter – both from cows fed exclusively on grass. None of my dairy comes from traditional grain-fed cows.
my tg level for the last 10 years has been over 600. it was 2840 last year. i have been taking Rosuvas F10 (India)- rosuvastatin 10 mg and febofibrates 160mg combined dose once at night. i want to avoid medicines. please advise what to do. i am worried.
Hi Bimal – your condition is probably a combination of genetic predisposition and a high-starch diet.
You need to completely eliminate all sugar from your diet. The next step is to remove all wheat and rice from your diet. Your diet should consist exclusively of vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, beans, lentils, and a very small amount of fruits. How low your triglycerides drop will depend on how strictly you adhere to this diet.
Hello I’m Gonzalo from tx and I am 30 years of age…well I just had my blood wrk done and the results showed I had my tg at 413 and my doctor said I should b from way lower….is there u way I can do this without med…
Hi Gonzalo – yes, stop drinking soda, juice, and milk. Stop eating sugars, candy and all foods that contain grains, especially wheat. No pizza, bread, donuts, bagels, cookies, tortilas etc. You dont need meds.
instead of wheat what shall we eat
Hi Rafi – if you have high triglycerides or high blood sugar or high blood pressure, you need to start thinking of wheat, rice and other grains as harmful. So instead of wheat, you need to start eating vegetables, tubers, and some fruits for your carbohydrate needs. Please read the 200+ comments (questions and answers) above.
If you find it inconceivable or shocking to avoid wheat, I’d say it’s time for you to break out of that mental prison. Millions of people have replaced grains with vegetables and improved their health.
And I do take my multivitamin every day and do replace dinner with a protein shake….is that good. Thanks…just trying to find out everthing possible abt this….
Hi Gonzalo – replacing your dinner with a protein shake is only OK for a day or two. It is a bad idea if you do it regularly. Eat a variety of vegetables and meats, cooked in olive oil.
Well thanks for the advice….well I have been watching my weight and also started exercise….Im also eating like I should…and I do have me one free day out of the week is that okay…what would you think…
By any chance can diabetic patience benefit from taking fish oil pills?
Hi Peggy – virtually everyone gets benefits from Omega-3, including diabetics. If your question is ‘will fish oil pills cure diabetes?’ then the answer is NO. Diabetes is caused by eating too much sugar and starch. The solution is to stop eating sugar and starch and start eating more healthy fats and proteins.
My Tri’s were 80 in 2006
Now there 260
My Cholestrol has gonme down from 190 to 170
I’m not doing anything different ….
I’m taking Atentol beta Blocker since 2006 ?? could this be the problem … No one seems to give me the right Answer
6 ft 190 Was 6 feet 180 back then nd a bit more belly weight…. 48 yrars old
Just your opinion Please
Hi Gary – A general practitioner may not be able to diagnose your problem. I would find a lipidologist near you. http://www.learnyourlipids.com/find-help/ Regardless, a big jump like that in just a few years is something you need to get looked at.
Is the 3 6 9 oil blend good for lowering cholesterol?
Hi Chris – no, Omega-3,6,9 does not impact cholesterol levels. Even just plain Omega-3 will not budge your cholesterol numbers that much. That is not what Omegas do.
Hi I’m Annie and I’m so upset because I eat healthy no cookies or junk . I don’t know how to get my triglycerides down they were a little over 300 last year in October and now today they are 298 I don’t eat fried foods I don’t know what I’m doing I don’t eat processed foods I don’t know how low my checklist rides I don’t eat fast food restaurants I don’t eat fried foods I was eating frosted mini wheat‘s for breakfast and I cut that down I have organic Cheerios with sliced bananas and all bran cereal mixed together with some milk please tell me what I’m doing wrong. My family don’t have it my doctor says It’s probably in my family not unless it’s on my grandparents side of us I’ve never seen them so I don’t know I just wish somebody could give me something I was I eat is chicken breast Tipton eggs and Panko and baked and then I have some Thai sweet potato with a frozen corn or peas no more canned I don’t need anything processed in the box I don’t know what I’m doing wrong I have for sure I’m supposed to take twice a day but I have only been taking it once once I stopExercising because of this pandemic so I don’t go to the gym anymore but I’ve always been battling with a high triglycerides I remember years ago they were 500 and now they stay around the 300 to 298 I don’t know how to get them down lower does anybody have any advice or help
Hi Annie – it’s great that you do not eat cookies, junk, and other processed foods. It does not have to be junk or soda…any processed carbs or processed starches will increase your triglycerides. Fried foods do not increase triglycerides, unless it is fried starch like donuts or fries. It’s carbs and starch that is causing your high triglycerides. Period. Of course, exercise will help a lot, but the root cause is excess carbs.
Organic Cheerios is very good at increasing triglycerides – it is processed carbs that the body turns into sugar and that is stored as triglycerides.
Bananas are high in sugar (even though it is a fruit). Same as above.
Bran cereal will also increase your triglycerides. Same as above.
Milk will increase your triglycerides – lactose in milk is a sugar. Same as above.
Frozen corn will increase your triglycerides for the same reasons as above.
You thought you were doing all the right things, but you simply switched out one source of carbs for another.
Change your breakfast to eggs, berries, and a handful of nuts. Berries have very little carbs.
Change your lunch and dinner to mostly green veggies with a little meat or seafood. A little chicken is OK.
Simple rule: eat stuff that was alive last week. Mostly veggies with a little meat, seafood, chicken, nuts, and berries. Be generous with olive oil. If you don’t eat fish, take fish oil supplements. If you make all of the dietary changes above, your triglyceride level will come down to about 100. Add exercise and it will get below 100, where it should be.
Hello, last one year my TG level is above 400, last time when i checked my vitamin D level is only 7 as per my doctor this could be the reason for high TG level and started the ingection for vitaminD. can you please advice.
Hi Subodh – Vitamin D level of 7 is extremely low. I suggest getting a lot of mid-day sunshine and/or supplementing with Vitamin D3 pills. Normalizing D3 levels will help a little bit, but I suspect that you’ll still have high triglyceride levels. Follow dietary advice given in these two blogs, starting with complete elimination of sugar and all things sweet.
Also, can you comment on the claims of this product?
Hi Sam – no, not all brands shown here are enteric coated. Minami and OmegaBrite are not enteric coated. The Vitacost product is OK – it is just OK – no third-party testing, no idea of the source of oil, no idea if it contains chinese ingredients. It is mid-grade in strength, so it’s better than many entry-level fish oils you see at Walmart and other drug stores. If your budget is tight, the Vitacost product will suffice.
I am 37 years old male.
In the last 2 months, by changing lifestyle (reduced meal portion, exercise, eating healthy), I managed to:
– Cut my triglycerides level by 33% (from 480 to 315).
– Lost 15 lbs.
– Waist size dropped by 4 (from 36 to 32).
However, my HDL also dropped from 38 to 32.
My questions are:
1. Why my HDL also dropped even though I exercise regularly (140 bpm for 30 minutes)?
2. Will my triglyceride drop further? Is 2 months too early to see the final result of my lifestyle change? What’s the best product/way to lower my triglyceride further (315 is still high)?
Thank you so much.
Hi Hary – I do not know why your HDL dropped. Usually it goes up with exercise. Please discuss with your doctor.
This is about as much as you can expect to reduce TG with eating less and exercise. The easiest way to reduce TG is by eliminating sugar and starch from your diet. See this: http://www.omegavia.com/cut-triglycerides-in-half-without-lovaza-or-fish-oil-1/
I am assuming, dried white beans and lean ham cannot be eaten on this diet.
Hi Cyn – I don’t eat either because I don’t eat legumes and I like my meat grass-fed and full fat. But if you weren’t odd like me, you could eat both foods – neither spike blood sugar, so they’re not going to goose triglyceride levels.
Hi Vin. I am 27 years of age and just got bloodwork done for a health screening. My triglyceride levels came back at 1350. I am 6’2 200lbs so I’m by no means obese. Just slightly overweight. I eat a lot of pizza, pasta, and don’t care for veggies. It sounds like I need to cut out carbs completely if I want to see those levels decrease. Is it okay to indulge in a few slices of pizza once a week? Also, any suggestions for types of food I should be eating? I love meat, are there any that are better than others? Thanks!
Hi Andy – you need to talk to your primary care doctor about getting you a referral to a lipidologist – they are doctors who specialize in blood lipid disorders. Do this quickly. You may need to get some genetic testing done as well, which your lipid doctor will probably do. It is highly unlikely that your triglyceride levels are just due to high sugar/carb consumption. It feels like there is a strong genetic component to this. You are probably also highly intolerant to carbs. If my triglyceride level was over 1000, I would not go within a mile of a pizza, let alone a few slices a week! I would also go on a low carb version of a Paleo diet – strictly meat and veggies. I’d also start on a good exercise program. Please re-read this blog a couple of more times!
I have been very particular about exercise and diet because of health realted disease history in my family !! I get my Lipid profile checked every 6 months and for past 5 years (I am 36) it was 108 for TG & LDL was slightly high & HDL was low. I am eating 500 mg Krill Oil caps (1 a day) flax seeds and omega 3 rich food (salmon / tuna). However after all this also This time my TG came to 210 which is almost 100 units higher and LDL is going up and HDL is coming down. I do not drink a lot of soda’s and stik to 1 glass of wine or 1 whisky daily !! whats going on…Do i need to stop eating grains / rice completely ??
Hi Nitin – it’s great that you’re eating salmon and tuna. And exercising. Other than that, there is little in your comment that’s helping you with your triglycerides. I suggest you read this: http://www.omegavia.com/i-take-your-omega-3-but-my-triglycerides-still-went-up/
Should you stop eating grains and rice? Well, it looks like you have a lot to gain and very little to lose from not eating grains. There is nothing in grains that you cannot get from vegetables.
One 500 mg krill oil pill is not enough. Try 4 or 6 or 8. At 8 pills a day, you’ll notice your triglyceride dropping (and your wallet flattening) significantly. Don’t fall for krill oil marketing that tells you ‘just one small pill a day.’
How much soda is ‘not a lot’? If it is more than 1 per month, that’s probably too much. Alcohol won’t help you TG either.
Get your LDL particle NUMBER measured via NMR LipoProfile. Regular LDL number from lipid tests are not very telling. LDL number goes up with starch/carb consumption and down with fat consumption. If you’re fat-phobic like most people, you’re pushing a rock up hill.
In April my total Cholesterol was 325. HDL 48. VLDL 77.6. LDL 199.4 and TG 388. My doctor put me on 10 Mg Lipitor and I went on what I thought was a very strict diet. After 2 months I went back to see why I had bad foot pain and the doc checked my levels which had dropped total Cholesterol 181. HDL 44. VLDL 42. LDL 95 and TG 210. I decided to get off the Lipitor because of the muscle pain from the meds. I’m sure I will have to get back on something but shouldn’t I take CoQ10 with a statin? I do drink a lot of soft drinks but other than that I eat healthy. My doc told me to eat whole grains and I see now that prob wasn’t a good idea. Any suggestions what I should take to keep my levels low that isn’t going to have bad side effects?
Hi Angela – soft drinks and whole grains will both increase cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides a lot. When people find out about high cholesterol and go on ‘strict’ diets, they usually begin eating a lot of whole grains and cut down on fat, both of which are bad ideas and will only increase your cholesterol and triglycerides. I wish doctors would stop telling their patients to eat more whole grains. Stop the soft drinks and grains. Eat vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and if you tolerate it, beans and dairy. The kind of cholesterol found in meats and eggs are a different form than what your body prefers – food cholesterol mostly just passes thru your body. Yes, 100 mg CoQ10 twice a day with meals will help with some statin side effects.
What are your thoughts on Stevia (like Sweet Leaf brand found at health food stores?)
Also, what is your opinion on eating one “Light Flat Out flatbread” once or twice a week? This flatbread has 8 Net Carbs and O Sugars. Is a slice of this ok?
Thank you so much!!
Hi Carol – Stevia and other sweeteners MAY be better than artificial sweeteners if you do not have diabetes or insulin resistance. When you eat something sweet, your brain thinks you are eating sugar and it tells your body to crank out insulin to process the sugar. Your body does not know that you are fooling it. My opinion is that calories are somewhat irrelevant. If your insulin levels go up, all sorts of bad stuff happens. I don’t eat Stevia for this reason.
Wheat contains several toxins besides gluten. It is disastrous to your gut lining. I don’t eat wheat and have not eaten wheat for several years. Gluten from one slice sticks around in your body for months. I would not go near the stuff.
Carol – I just went to the Light Flat Out flatbread website to check out the ingredients: Here are the first 5 ingredients: WATER, WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, OAT FIBER, WHEAT GLUTEN, SOYBEAN OIL – it has about 20 other processing aids. Besides water, the top 5 ingredients contain 2 of my top 3 foods-to-avoid: wheat and soybean oil. Wheat because of gluten and its fantastic ability to spike blood glucose and insulin; soybean oil because it is full of inflammatory Omega-6 fats. Oh as it that wasn’t enough, they’ve actually added gluten to the ingredients! If you could add high fructose corn syrup to this, it has the potential to become the perfect example of what to avoid, right next to a donut. Sorry – you asked for my opinion. Now you have it!
I am 44, 5.11 and about 185 lbs. I am only about 10 lbs over, I had high triglycerides in the past. My blood sugar and blood pressure have been raising this year. Triglycerides were around a 1000 in my last blood test about a week ago. I’ve never been diagnosed as a diabetic or with high blood pressure also when my weight is around 170Lbs the levels are kind of normal, but there is no way for me to know about triglycerides level unless I have a blood test . What should I do to lower my triglycerides
Hi Mauricio – your numbers should not be ignored. Talk to your doctor right away about how to handle this. Having said that, please read Part 1 and 2 of this blog several times. Everything you need to know about how to manage triglycerides is in these two blogs. Without knowing your diet, I will suggest that you stop all soda, juice, sweetened beverages, sweets and refined grains immediately. Your enemy is sugar and carbohydrates, not fat. Please don’t ignore this – triglyceride level of 1000 is dangerous.
Thanks for your writing. Enjoyed them and an determined to put for my use.
I am 36 year old, 5’8″ and 160 lbs. An year ago, my blood test showed LDL of 113, HDL of 22 and Triglycerides of 293. In the last one year switched from rice to wheat (indian rotis), added apples and almonds to daily diet. Lost 5 lbs in one year. I’m moderately physically active.
Last week I did blood test again and results showed LDL of 87, HDL of 28 and Triglycerides of 277. While all the numbers improved relatively, still HDL and Triglycerides are a concern.
Starting now, I’m planning to make following changes:
1. Quit wheat completely; replace wheat rotis with Fish, chicken or lentils and vegetables for dinner
2. Replace dairy milk in protein milk shake (breakfast) with Coconut milk (hoping coconut milk to boost my HDLs)
3. Replace lunch (sandwhiches, burgers) with salads topped with beans and chicken strips
4. Thrice a week 20 mins cardio at 150 heart rate.
I’ll check in with updates after 3 months with a blood test.
Appreciate any advise here to improve my cholesterol profile.
Hi GD – I suspect your diet is really off kilter if you’re telling me that you switched from rice to wheat and that you added apples and almonds. So many red flags! I suggest you get yourself a dietitian or nutrition coach. Although many of the changes you are embracing are in the right direction. I suspect you are still highly fat-phobic. I don’t see any mention of healthy fats like olive oil. Yes, coconut milk helps, but you need lots of healthy fats. Fat is not your enemy – sugar and refined carbohydrates (like the stuff in your rotis) are. And don’t be afraid of red meat – the evidence against it is paper thin.
Your low HDL and high triglycerides is very worrisome. I don’t care much about total cholesterol or LDL, but I do care a lot about HDL and TG. Your are way off. Your triglycerides are probably a result of high grain diet.
Focus on blood sugar – you may not know it yet, but I suspect you are pre-diabetic. Eat meats, seafood, veggies, eggs nuts and some fruits. Get rid of everything else. Do this for a couple of months and get a blood test. Let us know how it turns out.
My blood sugar is 95 both years
I’m not fat phobic. I deliberately ate very less of oil, eggs and meats because I was educated that whole grain products are good and fats and meats are bad.
Since last two days all that changed. Quit all grain products.
Am now eating pasture eggs, pasture fed chicken, salmon, olive oil for cooking, coconut milk, vegetables, greens and nuts and fruits.
Will post results in 3 months.
As promised i did my blood screening this morning – right around 3 months after i posted above note. Followed exactly the healthy eating style as mentioned in my above note.
Good News first.
My triglycerides is now 124 – big improvement from 277 which was three months ago
I weight 146 pounds now – lost 14 pounds in 3 months.
Not so good News:
My HDL is now 30 which is only two points improvement from 3 months ago which was 28.
My LDL has gone up to 102 from 87
Total Cholsterol has gone down to 156 from 170 – good news
Now my primary goal is to boost my HDL without negatively impacting anything else.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Hi GD – thanks for sharing the very good news.
This is quite nice. Your LDL may/may not be an issue. Your doctor will have to run a VAP or NMR test to determine the LDL particle size/number before you know your real risk.
HDL is a bit trickier and it is hard to nudge up. Exercise and increased healthy fat consumption will both help. I suspect that anything that improves your HDL will also help the other numbers…at least it did with me.
Thanks again for sharing.
Found your article and it was very interesting. 2 months ago I had my blood test done and it showed my TG at 802 and HDL at 19. Since then we started working with a trainer who is also a nutritionist and he has completely changed my diet around. I am of Italian heritage and pasta, rice and bread was a daily staple in our diet. I ate cereal in the mornings and added sugar to the milk and drank sprite every day. He had us eliminate all Carbs including most fruits except for vegetables and increase proteins and good fats and to eat every 3 hours to increase out metabolism. I am also taking 4 a day of Omapure Pharmaceutical Grade Omega-3 Pills. I’m also drinking about 6-7 bottles of water a day. I had my blood-work re-checked after 6 weeks and my TG is now 143 and HDL is up 7 points and I lost 35 lbs. Didn’t expect it to go down that quick but I’m not complaining.
My question is could I have had a sensitivity to sugar all my life and not known it or is it just years of eating sugar that finally caught up to me?
Hi Rob – kudos for taking charge of your health! And also to your trainer/nutritionist. You did all the right things. And your numbers show it.
Yes, my guess is that you have some genetic issue relating to sugar/carb sensitivity – no way to know for sure without a test. A lot of people eat the way you did and their TG is not at 802. Do any of your relatives have this issue? If so, then you have a partial answer. The other thing is, just about everything you ate in the past, was setting you up for bad numbers and possibly (eventually?) diabetes and Alzheimers etc. Blood sugar has a lot to do with future chronic illnesses, so watch your blood sugar carefully. It may save your life.
Thanks for sharing.
My TG goes from 325 to 824 without drugs. I am not over weight and my
cholesterol is low. HDL is low. Do I do s0mething different? I don’t want my cholesterol to go any lower.
Hi Bill – I am not overweight either and as you read in the blog above, my TG was close to 700. My issue was genetic – I simply don’t handle sugar and carbs well. My guess is that you’re in the same boat. TG of 824 is not to be ignored!
Low/high cholesterol is meaningless since it is a combination of numbers that you want high and low. Low HDL is more troublesome.
I suggest you work with a specialist like http://nourishnutrition.com to find a way to get this under control using diet instead of drugs. You really CAN eat a lot of delicious foods and still lower your TG – sometimes you just need some guidance.
Hello Mr.Vin ,
Thank you for your effort to answer people ,
My story started I went to hospital for general check up I found out that My triglycerides shows 16 mmol/L and Cholesterol 11.2 mmol/L , By the way I am 32 years old and not over weight I was shocked and surprised , I started to take Lipitor 40 mg and doing a big diet + Exercising for 30 minutes each day ,
After 5 days from my previous test I went again and double check I found that the Triglycerides is getting lower which is 7.54 mmol/L and cholesterol 12.9 become higher .
My first test was on 17th of September 2013 and the second one was in 22nd of September 2013 ,
I read that I can reduce my TG and CHOL by taking Omega 3 4 grams a day I have a several questions :
1) Could I stop taking the Lipitor even I started to take 40 mg a day, And switch to Omega 3 +diet +exercising which is more healthy and natural and is it risky to stop it since I started on 18th of September 2013 ?
2) Am using Aqua Marine Fish oil 550 mg by Vitabiotics which made bu UK its 60% Omega-3 , I took 6 capsules a day for a while until I make TG lower or normal , is it risky?
3) Am I going to use the drug for ever if am not allowed to stop it ?
4) Some studies show that High Cholestrol is not Risky is it truth ?
5) TG can be lowered in a week if I took 3 – 4 grams of Omega 3
I dont want to take drug for the rest of my life please I need an urgent reply because seriously I dont know what to do , and thnx again
I am 33 and my blood level of cholesterol is 400, I weighed 205 pounds before my journey of getting fit and losing weight. However I haven’t had blood work in years. I recently lost 25 to 30 pounds and watching my diet, confused as to why is it still so high! I also know this runs in my family but I do not want to take medication for this at all. Please help and/or advise as to what to do. Thank you
Hi Geegee33 – I would suggest that you work with your doctor to find out what’s the root cause of your high cholesterol. You may need an integrative MD – you can find one here: http://primaldocs.com or http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com
Regular doctors will simply give you a statin and send you home. This will only glaze over the issue. A good one will get to the root of the problem, which could be genetic, thyroid issues, infection, too much sugar and carbs etc.
Whenever people say ‘watching my diet,’ I assume they are cutting out fat and red meat. Both of which could be a disaster. You need to be cutting out sugar and processed foods and refined grains.
More here: http://www.omegavia.com/cholesterol-when-to-panic/
I went thru both the blogs and I find it very useful specially what to eat and what not to.
I am 35 yr old 5’5’’ height and weight was 138 lbs. My TG was 325 in March this year. Certainly I panicked and reduced my daily intake (I am a huge fan of rice) and restricted my diet by eating low fat food(low fat milk and not eating fried food, ghee, butter cheese, no potato) also followed South beach diet for one week.
Also my walk was around 50 minutes daily due to work commute(which was not earlier).Last week I did my blood test and TG came down to 173 and HDL is at 32.Reduction in the TG levels is largely attributed to my walks and diet I believe.
However, I have below questions –
1. I do eat salt more. Does intake of salt have any role in increasing/decreasing TG/CHL levels ?
2. Which is less harmful? rice or wheat ? Being an indian vegetarian I have do not much options (thought I eat eggs)
3. Do you recommend Vascepa for me as I think it is for very high levels of TG? Or shall I take any fish oil ? Mine is borderline high.
Hi Amol – going on the South Beach diet and STAYING ON IT would have been a good idea. You would have done well on it.
Switching to low-fat foods is a bad idea. You may want to re-read the blogs again. Exercise is wonderful. Salt does not affect triglycerides or cholesterol levels much, but sugar and carbs do. Rice is less harmful than wheat – wheat has gluten and that’s all kinds of bad for your intestines.
Glad you eat eggs but being a vegetarian is a choice…that’s OK if it’s working well for you, but based on your numbers, I am not convinced it is. And avoiding grains would be a really good choice too.
Vascepa or no Vascepa is up to your doctor. I am a nutritionist, so I cannot counsel you on Rx drugs. But Vascepa will also work on borderline triglycerides.
Thank you. very useful information.
I am a 29 year old male with a triglyceride level of 224 . I already switched from white rice to brown rice and staying away from fries which I guess is recommended and started to maintain a exercise routine(3 to 4 days). My BMI is 25.7 so I am trying to lose 7 to 10 pounds.
I would like to know what omega 3 fish oil you recommend which is available over the counter also whats the allowed limit for alcohol ? I love BEER, usually take one a day
Hi AJ – going from white rice to brown rice will only help a tiny little bit. All grains will jack up your triglycerides. Focus on health and your weight will normalize to where it needs to be. But if you focus on weight, you will always go wrong.
Aim for 1000 mg of Omega-3 per day. Beer = liquid wheat. 1 beer a day may be fine now, but in another 10 years, it will catch up with you. If you must have alcohol, go with red wine.
Thank you for such an informative site. My husband has very high triglycerides (900). He has had a previous heart attack. Thankfully it was more of a warning than anything else and was not serious. That doesn’t mean we are ignoring the fact that he has a problem. We have started raising our own beef and pork and just had our first beef butchered and in our freezer a week ago. We never have been soda drinkers, so that isn’t a problem. But we did enjoy the Crystal Light lemonade and peach tea. After reading your site and watching the videos, we are cutting out the grains, potatoes and all the other good things that we enjoy (sigh….). What I was wondering is: Do you know of a website that has low triglyceride menus? I pack him a lunch every day, but of course it consisted of a sandwich (made on Sandwich Thins bread), a piece of fruit and a couple of fiber bars. He works a very physical job and needs a good lunch to get him through and trying to figure out something to take the place of the lunch I normally make for him is proving to be a little daunting.
Again, thank you so much for such an informative site.
Hi Denette – triglycerides of 900 plus a heart attack is not a good situation to be in. The good news is that you are making solid progress. Choose real foods over food products. Food products have printed packaging and bar codes. I would not go near crystal light, sandwich thin bread or fiber bars – they will keep his triglycerides high and cause several other issues.
Some of these sites have dessert recipes too, but ignore them for now.
Thank you so much for the websites. There are some really terrific recipes there. I have purchased several cook books since my first post to you. I just picked up the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook yesterday. Having these tools has made it very easy to convert to the Paleo lifestyle. And here comes the good news……..With the Tricor my husbands doctor put him on and the Paleo way of eating, we have been able to get Steve’s triglyceride levels down from 900 to 178. That has been in 2 months time. We are trying to convince the doctor to let him stop taking the Tricor, but we aren’t having much luck with that. But I wanted to share the good news with you since I feel you had a large part in pointing us in the right direction. Thank you!!
WOW!! 900 to 178! That’s fantastic! Really glad to hear this, Denette.
Any changes in his blood sugar, insulin, HDL?
Your article says to avoid grains – does this imply that chappatis are out too? If that’s the case, please give me an example of what a typical dinner plate should be. What about couscous and wheat noodles?
Hi Sonya – I wouldn’t go near a chappati (wheat flat bread) or anything else made with wheat, if you paid me! But that’s just me. You may not have high triglycerides and you may not have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (both of which apply to me) so your diet could be different from mine. But keep this in mind: two slices of whole wheat bread (of any kind) will jack up your blood sugar (and triglycerides) more than two tablespoons of white sugar. My dinner plate looks like this: half to two-thirds would be fresh, green and colorful vegetables, cooked generously with coconut oil, olive oil or pastured butter/ghee. The rest would be protein (grass-fed meats, wild fish, eggs, poultry) also cooked generously in the oils cooked above. Fruits, nuts and dark chocolate are my desserts.
Thank youfor taking your time to answer all these questions!
I have a different issue than those posted here:
My TG number has dropped from 77 to 45 over the last year.
My Total Chos. is 153 down from 168 last year
My husband and I eat much as you do but had an issue with artificial sweetners, which have completely removed over the last 3 months.
Could that be why my numbers dropped so much?
I am 5’7 and 138 lbs and moderately active.
Hi Janet – there may be a medical issue that’s not popping out at me. Even if it did, I’m neither qualified nor authorized to tell you what to do about it. I think it’s worth going to an integrative MD to check things out, just in case. But having said that, here is what I’ll say. I wish I had your triglyceride number. But I do not want your cholesterol number. Your chol number is within standard testing deviation, so I’m not sure it’s changed that much. If you go to a regular doctor, he/she might be overjoyed at your numbers and send you home. Personally, I like my cholesterol number a little higher.
I’m not aware of artificial sweeteners doing this.
I do not consume alcohol or smoke, generally eat in. I do not eat the packaged stuff / Junk food. I do not work out, low physical activity and eat wheat daily with vegetables and pulses. I do not eat rice. I do eat meat/chicken/fish twice a month. Around half a cup of skimmed milk without sugar daily.
Few Questions –
Q1. I understand that carbs produce glucose which eventually gives us energy. Is it really advisable to eliminate carbs completely ?
Q2. You have advised on eating nuts. Can you share few examples on which nuts are you talking about ?
Q3. I eat boiled eggs along with the yolk. Is it advisable to eat the yolk too ? ( It does have K2 but does it add to TG?).
Q4. Are lentils/pulses good for health or do I stop eating pulses? Also are sunflower seeds good for health ?
Q5. Should I start consuming Omega 3 , I am certainly interested in the Omegavia EPA 500 , do you ship your products to India ?
Hi Ritz – you don’t need to completely cut out carbs – that would be a bad idea. What is a bad idea is to get all your carbs from grains. You should aim for getting it almost exclusively from vegetables and fruits. Yes, you should eat the whole egg, including the yolk – that’s where the nutrients are. A handful of nuts like cashews, pistachios are fine – peanuts are not nuts – they are legumes and legumes are OK for some people but not for others. 1000 mg of Omega-3 per day is probably a good idea. No, we do not ship to India.
Thank you Mr Kutty,
I will follow your advice.
Just one input , when you visit google (https://www.google.co.in) and type omegavia , the second drop down suggestion is “omegavia in India” indicating that this is probably the second highest searched combination under omegavia in India. Probably your sales and marketing team can re-look at India as a potential market. The website administrator of this site can also check the number of hits from India region. Thanks again !
Thanks, Ritz. Will pass on the tip.
I appreciate your quick response to my email. In one of my previous emails, I said that I was coming to buy from your company. I believe from the information I (we) received from wifes insurance co. (retired AT&T) they may cover lovaza staring 2014. If so, great, but if not I will buy from you. I like your information very much. I will probably switch to the other prescripton, because of only epa that seems to be of better value for lipid profile.
Thanks, Emmett. Happy to help.
Thank you for this great blog, Vin! I am determined to never go on a statin drug after reading all side-effects. My problem is I’m addicted to sugar and grains, but once I get off of them I don’t crave too much..BUT I think my body goes into some bizzare withdrawal because once I eliminate the grains I get horrible and painful constipation with ‘roids. This had happened to me twice, and both times it was so painful I got back on grains. Do you have a remedy for me to get completely off of grains, safely?
Hi Marianne – glad you like the blog.
Since you’re addicted (your word), I must admit to having no expertise in helping others deal with it…I imagine it is to sugar/sweets and wheat. I know no one who is addicted to rice. So depending on whether you’re a cold-turkey or gradual reduction kinda person, you’ll want to find a way to pull the trigger somehow. Ugh. I wish I were more helpful. I know it will take a couple of weeks of misery with sugar. Wheat is a little different from what I hear. But if you’re struggling with constipation from grain withdrawal, could it be that you are/were getting most of your fiber from whole grains? If so, start ramping up veggies as you taper off grains. Increase prebiotics – onion, garlic, leeks, inulin, FOS and may be even some unmodified potato starch.
I’m NOT a cold-turkey kinda person. I dont even remember getting off sugar, wheat, rice etc. because I did it so slowly. May be that could be an approach? Good luck.
Can you please recommend me with fish oil brands in India that I can consume.
Hi Ritz – I have no clue what brands are available in India. Sorry.
But I do know that Indians eat an extraordinary amount of grains and Omega-6-rich vegetable seed oils – both cause a lot of misery and chronic diseases.
It was so nice to read your article. I am 40 and 2 months back (November, 2013) I tested my lipid profile. My TC was 189, LDL 117, HDL 32 and TG 200. Doctor here did not suggest any medicine but told me to change my dietary habit and exercise regularly. However, I have been exercising 3-4 times a week at least an hour each day since the last two years. My possible problem about raised triglycerides could be because of the parties in that whole week until a day before my blood test (around 36 hrs before). I drank alcohol more than in moderation for 5 continuous days that ended just 36 hrs prior to the blood test. Does that affect blood test? I have now switched my diet to veggies , fruits, nuts and chicken with little rice during lunch and dinner. Do you have any other suggestions? Shall I be under medication to lower triglyceride? I have limited my alcohol and am drinking once or twice in a week that too in moderation. Thank you.
Hi Brish – alcohol can affect lipids. A diet of mostly veggies, meats, nuts and eggs (as described in the blog) will lower your TG. Exercise will too. But avoid grains and go easy on fruits.
Thanx a lot for the quick response.
(Latest result recorded in SAMSO)
(HDL) High Density Lipoprotein (mg/dL) 40 04/21/2014
(LDL) Low Density Lipoprotein (mg/dL) 147 04/21/2014
(TGL) Triglycerides (mg/dL) 118 04/21/2014
TOTAL CHOLESTEROL 211 04/21/2014
(Latest result recorded in SAMSO)
Systolic/Diastolic (mm/Hg) 157/97 1/17/2014
Diabetes Monitoring (Fasting)
(Latest result recorded in SAMSO)
Hemoglobin A1C History
(Recorded in SAMSO within last 2 years)
Service Value Date
(Recorded in SAMSO within last 2 years)
Height Weight BMI Value Date
cm in kg lb kg/m2
174 69 91 201 30.1 1/7/2014
I’m 45, have TG of 220, LDL 230, HDL 38. Normal BP and blood sugar.
I have been a regular athlete and jog 20 minute 2 – 3 times a week. Recently have completed half marathon in 2.05 hrs. Occasional drinker and smoker. Little bit overconfident due to regular sports, so was in habit of over eating some time. But now changing the diet like avoid oily food and shifted to oat BF and intake of full fruit for lunch.
Please advice how to improve the lipids.
Hi Sanjay – I suggest you read parts 1 and 2 of this article again and again. I think you missed the point. Avoiding oily foods and eating more starch, rice, grains, sugars is what’s causing your lipid problems. Drinking and smoking does not help – start there first. It’s almost pointless tackling your diet while still smoking. Your diet should consist of fresh, under-cooked veggies and protein.
Thanks for taking time out to look after my health problem. I am once again going thru the article properly. I have stopped completely smoking for the past fortnight. Drinks is almost 3/4 times in a month. Also Food habits is been taken care as you suggested. I difficult initially, but will get used to very soon. One thing I would like to confirm, is cholesterol and TG runs thru hereditary .
Tried the diet without the fish oil pills. My triglycerides went from 461 to 147 in a week. I’m an admitted sugar addict and I’ve had high triglycerides for most of my adult life.
Mark – in a WEEK?! Wow! Usually takes a bit longer. But I am not surprised.
I came across your article roughly 4 months ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the other articles. My triglycerides have been around 276 around the last two years. I seem to have a family history with my dad once having his higher than 2500+! For nearly 3 months I decided to cut out all sugar and nearly all carbohydrates(<50/day). During this time, I lost 20 lbs. I'm 6'0" and went from 215 to 195lbs. I was eager to have my values reevaluated and had my levels checked two days ago. My triglycerides have rocketed up to 496! I must admit, two days prior, I had many alcoholic drinks over the span of two days. I did fast prior to giving a sample. Could an episode of binge drinking two days prior to the test elevate my triglycerides this much? Any ideas why my values would double when nearly taking all the appropriate steps? Thanks for any input,
Hi Mark – the three months of sugar-free, low-carb diet should have slashed your triglyceride levels. I know alcohol can dramatically increase TG levels…and given what you’ve shared, I suspect the binge drinking had a hand in it. Our triglycerides spike after each meal, but that goes away when you fast. It cant be that since this was done while fasting. So your guess is mine as well – must have been the alcohol. Get it tested again without much/any alcohol for a while and see if there is a difference. In the meantime, you need to talk to your doctor about the almost 500 TG levels. This puts you at a pretty high risk.
Just thought I’d follow up: I just had my levels checked again this past Friday. My TGL was down to 186 from 496; a 300 point drop! This is the lowest it has been in 10+ years. This tells me two things: The diet worked and alcohol has an immediate and semi-long lasting effect on me. I’m guessing that value would be even lower if I distanced myself from alcohol. Thanks again for the article and the reply.
Hi Mark – thanks for sharing – this is great info for other readers here. Glad you were able to track down the root cause of the triglyceride spike.
This post is very nice! Are you suffered in Triglyceride. Then avoid some food. Stop the soft drinks and grains. Eat vegetables, meats, seafood, eggs, nuts and if you tolerate it, beans and dairy. High triglycerides allow your liver to make more very low density lipoprotein. It’s not good.
I recently checked my blood profile and found my triglycerides very high at 346. Cholesterol levels are all well within normal limits. This last week based on your blog, I have completely cut out all sugar and rice and wheat. I used to be a total sugar addict. Hopefully I should see some results soon. My question is being a vegetarian, is it okay to have some cheese or paneer occasionally? Also what are the ideal proteins that I can have? I am now eating mung beans, black eyed peas and chick peas. Is that okay? I am also on 2000 mg fish oil. Would love any input from you to improve my numbers. Thanks.
Hi KM – kudos for the diet change! Yes, cheese is perfectly fine. So are eggs if you like them. Fermented dairy like yogurt is also a good source of protein if you tolerate it. Beans and peas are OK but not as good as eggs and dairy. You may also want to consider some protein powders. I also suggest increasing fresh vegetable consumption. Get your blood tested again in a month or two – I bet you will notice a dramatic drop in triglycerides. Make sure you are getting 3000 mg of Omega-3…this is not the same as 3000 mg of fish oil.
Thanks Vin for your prompt reply. Quick question. Do I understand it right – milk is not ok but yogurt is? And what quantities of yogurt can I have? I am very partial to yoghurt so I am thrilled to hear that it is on the ok list. Thanks again.
Hi KM – yes, yogurt is OK because most of the milk sugar (lactose) has been fermented out, so yogurt is generally very low in sugar…that is if you make it at home and don’t buy sweetened, processed yogurt.
Hi Vin. Yippee! I got my blood tested end November and the TG’s are down to 180. I have added a small quantity of rice back into my diet but the major part of it is still veggies and eggs. Thanks for all your advice. Really appreciate your dedication. Hopefully the numbers should come down further. Thanks again.
Hi KM – so in just 3 months, you dropped your triglycerides from 346 to 180. Wow! That’s great. I’m not surprised but this once again shows that cutting out sugar and grains will do wonders. Good job!
Could you please recommend a vegetarian/eggitarian diet for someone who is both diabetic and has a triglyceride count of 600 – both recently diagnosed. Very low good cholesterol, high bad cholesterol as well.
Hi LP – it’s very simple (at least from my perspective): eliminate sugar and grains. Eat mostly vegetables, legumes, eggs, nuts and a very small amount of fruits (as dessert.) Cut out rice, wheat, grains, juices, sweets etc. Like I said, easier said than done.
I start my journey today with trying to lower my triglycerides. My immediate changes are going to be to cut out grains, fast food, and soda. I’m 6’2, 235 pounds. I need to drop weight, obviously. My triglycerides are sitting at 349. I haven’t been to see my Doctor yet to see what he recommends, but I did receive the results of my blood panel and knew it was time to act. I will see the doc in two weeks to get some advice.
For now, I’m going to stick to a certain diet. Please let me know if you see any major flaws. Beans twice a day with a little lean hamburger meat mixed in with lots if onions, diced tomatoes, and jalapeños mixed in. For snacks, almonds, pistachios, apples or bananas. During the week, I’ll also make a few trips to Chipotle for a veggie salad or grass fed steak or chicken salad.. With black beans, guacamole, onions/peppers and poco for the dressing. I’m not sure what type of fish oil I’ll get. I’ll take your suggestion and head to amazon.com to find it tomorrow.
Please let me know if this diet sounds ok. I know you’re not the biggest advocate of beans, but this will allow me to somewhat painlessly make the switch in diet… And cheaply.
Also, are sunflower seeds I’m to eat? I’ve eaten a ton of those all my life. And yes, all of my other lab numbers came back ok.
And by the way, what you do on here is absolutely amazing. The way you help people is truly inspiring.
Hi Murph – sounds like a chili + chipotle diet. I don’t see anything wrong with this diet for a few days/weeks, but if this is all you eat, you’re likely to run into some deficiencies and possible legume-related issues. Beans are so-so for most people while others handle them a little better. But making beans and lean hamburger the staple of your diet sounds unbalanced to me. Cast your food net a little wider. For the most part, I think you’re on the right track with grass-fed meats, seafood, veggies, fruits and nuts. Avoiding sugar and grains is smart. Sunflower seed are OK in moderation – they (and most nuts and seeds) are high in Omega-6, which I try to reduce. Be generous with healthy fats.
And if your doctor sends you to a dietitian and she puts you on a whole grain, low-fat diet, you will be back at your doctors next year with even higher triglycerides.
Your website is so very awesome (trying to think of an even better word fails me at the moment)! My lipid panel has always been good. In the last 6 months – 1 year, my TC went from 206, to 233, to 258 (six month intervals). I believe I found the culprit – husband and I developed a “love” of Stilton Bleu Cheese and Marcona almonds and were eating more than an ounce at least 2 – 3x per week! Triglycerides are 103 – 123, HDL 65 – stayed the same, LDL 147 – 173. I eat raw fish 2 -3x per week in the form of sushi/sashimi, avocado, EVOO, coconut oil occasionally, not a sweet eater at all, one cup of coffee per day with 2 tsp. of sugar and a non-dairy/no fat liquid creamer, hummus, organic leafy green salads with sunflower seeds and EVOO, red meat once or twice per month, no processed meats/boxed foods, etc. Wondering if the CHEESE could have simply caused the jump in my profile or also my, ahem, perimenopausal/menopausal age! I exercise (swim) regularly, walk, a little bit of cardio (more couldn’t hurt). Weight is 112. Would the Omegavia EPA or just Omegavia help?
Hi Tink – thank you. I seriously doubt the cheese and almonds are the culprits for your increase in cholesterol. Watch this lecture from Univ South Florida series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vr-c8GeT34 By the way, your cholesterol numbers are normal for middle aged women regardless of what pharma companies and doctors would say – not sure you fit the description, but just FYI.
Omega-3 will help with inflammation and triglycerides, but will not lower cholesterol.
Thank you! Yes, I did a little research and apparently a woman’s levels do rise during perimenopause/menopause. My doctor had asked if I wanted to start taking a statin; however, she did not push it and recommended fish oil. I have started taking krill oil as, even if it does not help to lower my cholesterol, it certainly can’t hurt. I definitely fit the description, having just turned 50 this past April! So many new changes at my age! It’s a shame that there aren’t more doctors who study this time in a woman’s life. I am blessed that I have found a few doctors/nurses/nutritionists, such as yourself, who aren’t on the “pharmaceutical train.” I will continue to eat healthy, exercise and I am watching the video now! Thanks again!
Thank you, Tink. Food, exercise, laughter, good company, and lots of sleep fixes most things. But food is the most complicated because of the definition of ‘good’ seems to change. This is not to say that modern medicine is useless – on the contrary, if there is any acute event like an accident or injury, we will all be thankful for it. Where conventional medicine fails miserably is the PREVENTION of virtually all chronic diseases that plague our society. For this, you need a new breed of doctors – functional medicine MDs.
I should also add that I stay away from wheat, and mostly all breads/starches as they do cause a weight gain for me. Thanks!
In the past month I have had blood work done 5 times. The beginning of Sept my Triglcerides were at 300. By October 4th I was not feeling good so they ran it again and it was at 1300. Doctor thought it must be a mistake. So they ran it again 2 days later and it was in the 800 mark. So he asked if I would go to another doctor and have it checked. 2 days later back to 1250. Bottom line it has been a roller coaster ride from now 130 to 1300 in just 1 month? Is this normal and what causes that? Should I see a specialist? My test on Friday is now 130. I have not changed my diet to effect my blood work that much. Thank you for any help you can be.
Hi Wendy – I assume you had your blood drawn first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with nothing but water in your stomach. If this is the case, I strongly suggest you get in touch with a lipidologist. Find someone here: http://www.lipidboard.org/lookup
I noticed that you always recommend a little bit of fruits. Why is it?
Are fruits elevating TG level? Recently my TG level is spiking up from 200 to 900. I did not take any carb and sugar, but ate a lot of fruits, some are sweet. Is it the cause of my elevating TG?
Hi Jeffrey – fruits are healthy. And if you do not have any issues with blood sugar, insulin resistance, weight, yeast overgrowth, high triglycerides, etc. then you can eat quite a bit of it. But most of us have one or more of the issues I mentioned above. If you have any of these issues, go easy on fruits. Also, when you tell people to eat fruits and vegetables, people magically only hear ‘eat more fruits.’ Add the fact that the most common fruits – apples, bananas, pears, pineapple, and grapes are all high in sugar. If you want fruits, go with dark colored berries.
Yes, large quantities of fruits will definitely increase your TG due to the carb and sugar content.
Hello, do you think that fresh goats milk would be acceptable? I am trying to lower my lipid panel as well and your recommendations for what to eat sound great but I love milk. we own three dairy goats that we will be milking for our family starting this spring and I am a fan of milk.
Hi Carlos – any kind of milk, goat or otherwise, contains lactose. And lactose is a sugar. It may not taste sweet, but it is still a sugar that will eventually increase your triglyceride and lipids. That said, a goat that’s been eating grass in your backyard probably produces healthier milk than what’s available for sale at grocery stores. My suggestion for you would be to make yogurt with it. The fermentation removes all the lactose sugar. Once you learn how to make yogurt, it is pretty easy.
hi Vin –
I am vegetarian. And I am from India. What that means is that although I try to cut out Sat fat from my diet and exercise and take fish oil, I cant seem to get away from carbs effectively and my TriGly does not seem to go below the 200 mark. Even after a couple of months of Lovaza, my Trigly is at 280 (thats down from a peak of 581 which is good but not nearly good enough).
Its a little disappointing since I try to eat as healthy a diet as possible. However I end up eating either whole wheat flour or rice. I am wondering if you have any suggestions on how I can replace these while continuing to be a vegetarian?
Would eating legumes (like chickpeas, whole moong, kidney beans, soya beans, peanuts), either sprouted or boiled amount to eating grains? Those are my primary sources of protein.
Any help/insight would be greatly appreciated.
Hi AJ – oh boy. I stopped cutting out saturated fat about 10 years ago. You’re following bad advice from 40 years ago. Cutting out sat fats won’t help you reduce TG one bit. Exercise and fish oil are good. But chances are you’re not taking 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day. If you can’t get away from grain-derived starch and you peak TG was 581, you’re in a tough spot. The root cause of high TG is not fish oil deficiency but starch over-consumption. Anyone with TG that high is metabolically compromised. Talk to your doctor about diabetes and blood pressure. Eliminate wheat and rice from your diet – completely! Talk to your doctor about meds. Walk 5 miles a day. Eat a lot of sprouted beans and lentils. And perhaps re-think the merits of vegetarianism…or at least consider including dairy and eggs to your diet.
Hi Vin..Wanted to update here with a lil more info now that its been 4 months.. I was doing great,eating sardines,salmon,salads..lost 23 pounds.. then the last month (4th) before my blood test i ate Mcdonalds,cookies and bread..nothing good because i got cocky because i lost weight and thought i was ok..As i mentioned before my Dad is 71 and had TG lvls over 2400 25 years ago.. My Doc Said its familgia TG’s and some people just go through a normal life like that.
1st test my CL was 133
TG lvl 530
2nd test 2 weeks ago
CL was 139
TG went down to only 517
Now i have a bottle of Gemfebrizol at 600 MG and dont want to take it because of the side effects it causes..
I also ate 2 bananas a day,yogurts,cheese,green olives,snickers bars,honey buns ect..
Obviously i must have got them down from 530 and now they are 517…i.might have got them to 250 for all i know until i messed up. What do i do? Take the Lopid? Niacin? 1500 MG Fish oil? Alone..together?? I’m lost with this TG stuff now.. Is it a way to prevent damage right now or 10-20 years from now?? Thanks
Hi Mike – to me it is very simple. It is a genetic curse that is worsened by starchy diet and low exercise. I’m saying this jokingly, but if I sent you off to Triglyceride Camp where you were only allowed to eat the stuff I told you to and you walked 5 miles a day and lifted weight 3X a week, I can promise you that your TG will come down to 150 or so in about 2 months. The joking part was sending you off the imaginary camp. The results part was dead serious. Cut out the honey, snickers, honey buns, sweetened yogurts, bananas, cookies, bread, and McDonalds. Eat lots of veggies, meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, all cooked in generous amounts of olive oil. Avoid sugar, sweets, juices, fruits, grains, flour. That’s really it. There is no secret. How closely you stick to this determines what your TG is. Now you can cheat by taking 3000 mg of Omega-3 per day. Given your levels, you better do this, along with Vit D, Magnesium etc. The Rx med is between you and your doc. But given your diet track record, you will need all the help you can get.
Give me a list right now and i will follow it.. breakfast,lunch and dinners… including any Niacin or the Gemfebrizol or Fish oil and exercise.. I will follow it to the T!!
Hi Mike – my suggestion is to follow a high-veggie, low-carb paleo type diet. There are tons of books and recipes out there. I don’t typically recommend low-carb diets for most people, except if triglyceride or blood sugar is out of control. I think it’d be definitely worth your time and money to have a few sessions with a local paleo dietitan to help you get started the right way.
Here is what i started Vin.. Guacamole,triscut no sugars or carbs,Tofu plus,Asapragus,organic celery,Chicken,Go Veggie cheese slices,Lettuce,green peppers,virgin olive oil,yakisoba noodles,Salmon,Light Tuna,green olives,fresh spinach,quaker old fashioned oats,celestial cinnamon and apple tea bags.. took my 600 MG Gemfibrizol,worked out for 30 min and walked for 30.. No more sugars,bread,candy,sweets,fruits.. thats about it..
Guacamole – good
Triscuti – not food. Processed cr*p.
Tofu – processed cr*p.
Asparagus – good
celery – good
chicken – good
Go veggie chesse – not food. Processed cr*p.
lettuce – good
green peppers – good
olive oil – good
Yakisoba noodles – not food. Processed cr*p.
Salmon – good
Tuna – good
Green olives – good
Quaker oats – good God, no!
I think you get the general drift. Eat stuff that was alive a few days ago.
Just had my Gemfibrizol and 2 organic celery sticks with Guacamole for breakfast.. going to workout now for 45 minutes.. lunch is light tuna packed in water and dinner Spinach leaves with green olives,green peppers,chicken strips and XV olive oil.. 3 months of this and those pesky TG’s don’t stand a chance Vin..
Is any kind of sugar free chocolate allowed?? Dark chocolate?? What kind if any.. if none forget i asked..lol
Sugar-free chocolate should be OK. I prefer the extra dark 75% plus stuff. Go easy on it though.
Hi Vin..sorry to keep posting but as you can see i am very serious.. looked at Paleo Diets and it looks like any meat is fine except low grades.What about stuffed shrimp or steak cooked in XV olive oil? Sausage? Bacon? Bologna?Ham.. any cold cuts allowed? Any thing like popcorn or Pistachios? Only reason i ask is because every package of trail mix or cashews or anything i wanted has 4-29 grams of sugar even dried prunes and cranberries..What a world.
Meats don’t harm triglyceride levels. Processed meats like salami and hot dogs are not the healthiest. Pass on popcorn. Remember the ‘should have been alive a couple of days ago’ rule. My only personal exceptions are nuts and cheese.
Hi Vin, really awesome site! It sounds like you know your stuff! I do have a few food choices you haven’t said much or anything about. They are full fat cottage cheese and quinoa??
Also, I’ve read a while ago the daily recommendation of fat for average female is around 40, and male around 60. Does that not really apply? How many grams of fat would you say you eat per day??
Thank you so much for your help.
Hi Liza – if your body is OK with dairy, full fat cottage cheese should be fine as part of a triglyceride-reduction diet. Pass on the fat-free crap.
Quinoa has a lot going for it…like cottage cheese, it is fine. Especially if you soak or sprout it. People tend to get a little carried away with quinoa…but it still has phytic acid and oxalates like a lot of seed/legumes. I don’t seek out quinoa, but if it’s in front of me, I’ll happily eat it.
I’m not sure how many grams of fat I eat. I’m sure it is a lot. Dietary guidelines suggesting low-fat living is flawed, faulty…and the science behind those guidelines is wobbly and biased at best.
Thanks Vin.. Going to shop tomorrow with that list… Also one final thing.. When i look at yogurts,or cottage cheese or anything else and it says 2g sugar.. 1 gm sugar is that okay because everything including sugar free candy and sugar free pudding has Sugar Alcohol in it.. i see cheddar cheese with 0 sugar,0 carbs,0 cholesterol but tons of fat..is this what i want? Thanks
Mike – you don’t want yogurt with added sugar or removed fat. You can confirm if there is added sugar by reading the ingredient list. Sugar alcohol does not increase blood sugar or triglycerides…a little bit is OK, but too much will make you suffer. Your cheddar choice seems OK.
First of all, great blog! Bumped across this blog when doing my own research on lowering my intransigent triglycerides who were determined to stay high, 250+, despite taking 2000mg of Omega-3 daily. Taking more medications didn’t seem right. Definitely not statins or like. Uggh!
And so, I read up your blogs, this one, the 2-part series on Triglycerides. Followed most of your advice (sans the meats, as I am a vegetarian), and 7 months later, after making my diet changes (full fat dairy, no/very low grains, high-protein-low carb breakfasts, shunning of processed foods, more real fruits and using ghee/butter/olive/coconut oil), for the first time my triglycerides are under 200. I have to yet go below 150, but I feel confident that I am on the right trajectory.
Your blog made me realize/introspect on my diet when growing up as a kid in India vs. my food choices/indulgences in the US. When I cut out most of the processed fluff, added sugars and relied on real food/whole natural foods, I saw an immediate drop in my weight accompanied by exercise (I had plateaued on my weight loss and again, figured, and I couldn’t practically double my exercise).
Thanks for the wonderful blog covering multiple facets of nutrition like triglycerides and grains, omega-6 rich seed oils, olive oil analysis, probiotics and recent 3 part series on Paleo diet. Always looks forward to your end of the month posts. Keep writing.
Thanks, Suhas. I assume you eat eggs…?
No, I don’t. I am a lacto-vegetarian.
So, no oatmeal, no eggs. You might wonder what I eat for breakfast. Me and my wife had to think real hard to find an easy way to make breakfast that’s low carb.
We resorted to chia seeds. Chia seeds + Peanut butter + Flax and hemp meal + Sunflower seeds. A glass of whole milk and a fruit, usually banana.
Indian food has recipes for savory chickpea flour pancakes, but that was too much work in the morning rush.
Not eating eggs helps me avoid donuts, cookies and cakes!
Ha! I’ve never heard egg-avoidance sugar-coated so beautifully – ‘ helps me avoid donuts, cookies and cakes!’ I love it. Whatever it takes to avoid donuts.
Well, in that case, I assume you are relying heavily on fully-fermented yogurt. By fully fermented, I mean home-made. The store bought stuff is only partially fermented and contains a lot of unfermented lactose and not much probiotics. Look into parfaits. Good quality euro-style cheese. Go easy on seeds – they are Omega-6-rich. Choose berries over bananas.
Thanks for the tip, I will keep a watch on my seed/omega-6 intake.
As it happens, we recently switched over to making yogurt at home, so that’s a check.
What’s wrong with bananas? You are not the first person to cast a doubt on consuming a banana daily. Slowly moving over to berries, and kiwi (may be).
Btw, I would love to see a follow up on Omega-7. I haven’t yet jumped the gun on it, still contemplating.
Hi Suhas – nothing wrong with bananas. It’s just that you have high TG and bananas/pears/apples/grapes are all high in sugar and low in phenolics, antioxidants etc. You get more bang for the sugar with berries.
Not much new to add about Omega-7 than what I’ve said here: http://www.omegavia.com/omega-7/ The science is very positive and emerging. I’m in regular contact with Tersus Pharma, the folks behind this ingredient, and urging them to conduct more research into its effect on insulin/sugar.
About bananas, got it.
Omega-7 – Sure, I would love to hear more about it, whenever new info is available.
One last question (probably): What’s your take on millets/millet flours like pearl millet, finger millet, sorghum etc?
The reason I ask is, rice and wheat flatbreads (chapati/naan) is a staple in Indian food (vegetarians/meat-eaters alike). Just like AJ who commented on this blog, I had trouble initially limiting rice and wheat. I almost cut out rice, as I wasn’t a huge fan of it anyways, but cutting out wheat was the toughest part.
So we, relying upon traditional hearsay, replaced wheat flour with pearl millet flour. Is it a good choice or is it still a filtered cigarette of nutrition?
Hi Suhas – avoid millet. It has compounds that will cause thyroid issues with extended use. If you must eat wheat or rice, choose white rice. It is less harmful. Wheat has a bunch of other components with a long-term negative side effects. Wheat can be physically addictive. I eat a little rice from time to time, but never wheat or millet.
Vin – I am a little surprised that you would suggest white rice over brown rice, which not only has less carbs per serving but also more fiber and other nutrients. Is there a reason why white rice is better in your view?
Hi AJ – fantastic question!
White rice spikes blood sugar sky high and can worsen diabetes, increase triglyceride, make you fat and do other charming things. Yet, it far healthier than other grains because white rice is just plain glucose. It has no outer coating – the purpose of the coating (from the plant’s perspective – always think about the plant’s perspective!) is to protect the next generation from bugs, mold, UV rays etc. So the plant builds in slow-and-steady biological warfare into the coating. Things like mineral-binding phytates and gut irritants. True, the coating contains a lot of nutrients, but it also contains all the potential toxins and anti-nutrients. When you polish brown rice, you lose the nutrients but you also lose all the toxins. White rice is just plain starch that gets broken down into glucose. Is white rice good? No. Is brown rice worse? Yes. With brown rice, you get all the dangers of white rice PLUS the toxins and gut irritants that can slowly set off autoimmunity reactions.
If you’re upset about losing the minerals/fiber in the outer layer of the rice grain, I’d say you’re looking at it all wrong and that you’ve been marketed to by the food industry. Get your fiber and minerals from vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, seafood and organ meats. No one should, ever, ever, ever depend on the outer layer of seeds and grains as a source of nutrients – these contain plant kingdom’s truly natural, slow-acting pesticides. It might kill a weevil rather quickly. But it will harm you very slowly. Try it (I’m kidding of course! :-)) by eating millet/sorghum every day, twice a day for a year and tell me if your thyroid gland doesn’t swell slowly into a grapefruit-sized goiter. Plants aren’t as harmless and healthy as we’ve be believe. It’s not just millet, wheat has an amazing list of ‘slow killers.’ Even potato peels.
I could go on, but I think you get the point.
RE: white rice
Cooked and cooled ( 6 hours+) is an excellent source of resistant starch. RS has been shown to moderate blood glucose levels. Same is true with cooked and cooled white potatoes, green plantains, green bananas and potato starch . Look up Resistant Starch and do the research to see if it is a good choice for you.
Hi Janet – yes, yes, yes, and yes! Resistant starch is highest for some reason in cooled sushi rice. I consume resistant starch whenever I can, but I haven’t discussed it much here because I felt it was a little too geeky for this forum (??) and because it is getting really far away from the original goal of educating people about Omega-3. But for what it’s worth, I ‘roll my own’ soluble fiber blend that’s a mix of about 15-20 different prebiotics. I haven’t tested my blood glucose because I travel a lot and I’m not disciplined about taking it every day.
Although I want to add that under this thread, I don’t want to provide any reason to consume grains. My personal prebiotic formula is really a way to remain somewhat moderate on carbs. Too high carbs = high TG, blood glucose, all kinds of issues. Too low carbs = thyroid/adrenal issues for me. So moderate carbs + exercise + prebiotics it must remain.
I totally get your point. I have been eating Paleo for about 8 months now. Over the last month I have been experimenting with RS and measuring my blood glucose and have found it to be quite powerful. Other than that, no grains for me either!
Keep up the great work!!
Thanks Vin and others This thread has been quite a learning!
My age is 30 and TG reported 500. Cholesterol level is fine. Doctor advised me to take fenofibrate but I would like to go without medicines. I am not a lover of sugar as I just take a cup of tea everyday with one teaspoon sugar. But I can’t avoit wheat. Above all the cause for my TG is fatty liver. So guide me as what should I do to heal this fatty liver and TG. And I am now cooking everything for myself in olive oil.
Hi Mian – the solution is quite simple: eliminate sugar, soft drinks, sweets, and all grains. Yes, that includes all wheat, flour and rice. I suspect your issue not that teaspoon of sugar in your tea but your grain-based diet. Get rid of grains and you will get rid of both the high triglycerides and the fatty liver…and also several other health issues in the coming decades.
Is canola oil ok for high triglycerides ?
Hi ab – Canola oil will not increase triglycerides in the long run, but it is high in Omega-6 fats, which will increase inflammation, a bigger problem than triglycerides. Simple solution: use olive oil.
My mother Tg is around 350, what type of food she should have to reduce it. Her age is around 50.
Hi Rinki Jha – please read and re-read the the article above and Part 1. I think you will get a very clear idea of what to eat and not.
Vin. got my results back!! Hope your good..
Triglycerides from 517 to….
Yes Yes Yes yes!!
Wow, Mike!! I mean: wow! Congratulations!
A couple of questions:
1) what does your diet look like these days?
2) are you hungry or craving stuff?
3) what medications and supplements are you taking?
Well its not that bad…All i did was make a massive change in diet first..
Eggs and water every morning with one fruit like avacado
Lunch light tuna or sardines in XV olive oil
Dinner was either grilled chicken,grass fed beef,salmon,sweet.potatoes and veggies liken green peppers,asparagus,spinach or just a Garden salad with XV olive oil.
no corn !!
No candy except sugar free but go light because i learned real quick the consequences of eating to many..yuck!
I had cheated but only at 1 party but that was the exception that day but not the rule..
I am not craving all the processed crap i used to eat at all..Not Hungry like it was in the past,my body accepted..well actually i trained it hard to get this way
exercise was plenty including 35 minute walks or treadmill an hour after dinner.
twice a week i went on 3-5 mile nature hikes,plenty of water.I drink at least 7 or 8 20 Oz waters per day.
Snacking became easy
epic bars,grapes,blueberries,non salted almonds or pistachios.
Meds i was on Gemfibrozil twice a day for 4 months
now completley off them and no going back to crap food..I did enjoy a lot of mediterranian food,tuna,olives,hummus ect..i feel great..never better and lost 34 pounds to boot.
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