Learn about the primary foods to avoid on the "Do Not Eat List" when you have very high triglycerides.
Very High Triglyceride Tip: Diet Swaps | HealthiNation
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The most positive approach to improving your health, for example when striving for a healthy diet, is to concentrate on what you CAN DO. But sometimes we need to know what NOT to do or eat. And, when you have very high triglycerides...there are certain foods and ingredients that you should avoid. You may know some of them...like sugars and fats. But there are other subtleties regarding what foods to avoid and why they are on the "Do Not Eat List" when you have very high triglycerides.
When we have very high triglycerides, we have too much fat in our blood. That fat comes from the foods we eat, and our bodies can also make it from the extra calories in our diet. So it is important to watch what we eat.
The first ingredients on our "Do Not Eat" list are certain fats—they are called the "bad fats." Trans fats are one of the worst fats out there, so you should strive to avoid these completely. On labels, they may be hiding under the name "hydrogenated" or "partially hydrogenated" oil. Fried foods, shortenings, and commercially processed junk foods may contain trans fats.
The good news is the food industry has cut way back on its use of trans fat. In fact, trans fats are banned in some places. Unfortunately, manufacturers often substitute saturated fat for trans fat. Saturated fat is also a "bad fat"—read labels and limit, for example, foods with tropical oils. These include coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than seven percent of your daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat.
No problem...there's lots of "fat-free" foods in the grocery store, right? Yes, just be careful—these usually replace fat calories with sugar calories. Why should this matter? Sugar equals calories. And if those calories are not burned immediately for energy, they are converted into triglycerides in the body. So you need to watch your intake. Read labels and limit foods with simple sugars listed in the first few ingredients: sucrose, glucose, fructose, corn syrup, honey, molasses and maltose. You will also need to avoid sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juice and the sugar packets you may like in your coffee and tea.
"Refined" or white breads and pastas are all simple carbohydrates—which is a fancy way of saying sugar. These grains have had many of their nutrients stripped away during the refining process. All of these foods are easily broken down into sugars, and then stored as fat. So, that means white breads, white rice, white pastas are also on the "Do Not Eat" list.
Now that you have an idea of what not to eat, one last word on what not to drink. Alcohol. Whether it is wine, liquor, or beer, alcohol can contribute to very high triglyceride levels. Alcohol adds extra calories to the diet—which we have already learned can be converted to triglycerides. Alcohol actually packs a lot more calories per gram than carbohydrates (7 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram). Also, people tend to make poor diet choices when drinking; meaning an already indulgent dinner can easily move right into dessert! If you have very high triglycerides, it is recommended that you avoid alcohol all together. But, as a general guideline, the American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Managing very high triglycerides with diet can be done. But, it requires willpower and dedication. Most of all...reduce excess calories and keep your weight in check. For some people, however, dietary changes will not be enough. That is why it is important to work with your doctor and to find an overall treatment plan that works for you.
Rosenson RS. Approach to the patient with hypertriglyceridemia. Up-To-Date 2011;19(2).
Triglycerides: Frequently Asked Questions. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association, 2011. (Accessed on August 10, 2011 at http://my.americanheart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_425988.pdf.)
Tropical Oils. Dallas, TX: American Heart Association, 2011. (Accessed on August 10, 2011 at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Tropical-Oils_UCM_306031_Article.jsp.)
What you can do to lower your triglycerides. Worcester, MA: University of Massachusetts Medical School.
(Accessed August 17, 2011 at http://www.umassmed.edu/uploadedfiles/LoweringTriglycerides.pdf.)