What I Learned about Triglycerides

First off, let me say I am not a heart specialist. I am a consumer of food and a nutritionist who spends a lot of time researching and experimenting.  I want to share what I learned about triglycerides because it was not at  all what I thought.  

In my 40s I had very high triglycerides, up in the 400s. Normal level is 150 milligrams per deciliter. What was puzzling to me was I was operating under the assumption, along with my medical doctor, that high triglycerides were caused by eating fried foods and too much meat.  At the time I was eating fried foods maybe 3 times a year, and meat about once a week.  My Mom had even higher triglycerides than I, nearly 780.  When i told my doctor about my Mom, he concluded that this was a hereditary problem and only medication would fix it. 

Today, information on the causes of high triglycerides is more refined. Instead of describing it as a "fat" issue,  it is defined as foods that contain excess sugar,and  white flour carbohydrates.

I chose not to go on medication.  My intuition told me it was something else that was causing my problem.  It turned out the culprit was sugar.  I was the Peggy Lawton cookie girl, the Snickers candy bar girl, and my Mom loved Sara Lee cakes and Little Debbie brownies.  It was sweets, not fat, that caused the elevated triglycerides.

How did I learn this?  I tell the whole story in my book Food Becomes you - Simple Steps for Lifelong Wellness.  Briefly stated, someone introduced me to organic fruits. I avoided fruit,  a natural source of sugar, because I got hives in my mouth if I ate any fruit with skin.  When this person introduced me to an organic apple, I ate it with no problem.  It was never the fruit. It was pesticides that caused my allergic reaction.  

Now, when the body receives the right nutrients, it naturally crowds out cravings for junk. In this case it was sugar cravings that no longer called to me.  I was getting my "sugar fix" from the right source, fresh fruits.  

What Happened to My Triglycerides?

I visited my doctor about 6 months after this major shift in my diet.  He was shocked to find my triglycerides registered at 150.  He thought it was a mistake, and had me retake the test.  150 again. That was in the mid-90s.  When I last had them tested in 2015 they were 140.  

Lessons Learned

What I learned from this is there is a cause for most things, and it is not always what we think. It takes some careful looking at what we're doing.  I never connected the sugar foods with my triglycerides, and had I been more prone to using medications to solve my problems, I might never have known. I am so grateful to the well-informed person who introduced me to organic fruit so many years ago. 

High Triglycerides? Here's What to Eat 

Eat oily fish like wild or sockeye salmon often, or supplement with omega 3 fish oil I use Metagenics spa cha liquid fish oil as I think it absorbs more easily than a gelcap.  Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oat bran and quinoa.  Eat kidney and garbanzo beans. 

Avoid all packaged desserts. Make your own fresh or buy from a high quality baker when you want a treat. Avoid excess alcohol - it's an extreme sugar drink.

If you do these things, you will see your triglycerides drop to a happy place. And even better, you won't feel hungry all the time.