ByDr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
Triglycerides are the chemical form of fat found in foodsand in your body. When you eat a meal, any unused caloriesare converted to triglycerides and stored in your fat cells(some triglycerides are also present in your blood stream).Later, they will be released to meet the energy needs of yourbody.
You've likely heard of triglycerides before, as therehas been intense research over the past 40 years that confirmedthat elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia,puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, many experts still believe that the way totreat this problem is with a low-fat diet. What is often overlookedwith low-fat diets is that people tend to replace the fatwith simple carbohydrates, and these are the primary causeof high triglycerides.
There are few absolutes in medicine, but I have yet to seesomeone with high triglycerides fail to respond to a comprehensiverestriction of grain and sugar carbohydrates. I suspect theremight be some cases out there, but I haven't seen them.
There is an excellent review of carbohydrate-induced hightriglycerides, which thoroughly covers the history and scienceof my clinical observation, in the February 2000 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In fact, I wish I would have cited this reference in my letterto the Canadian Medical Journal, published earlier this year, which challengedtheir review article that claimed low-fat diets are the solutionto, rather than the cause of, high triglycerides.
This condition may not present any symptoms until heart diseasedevelops, so the best way to know if your triglyceride levelsare within range is with a blood test. Extremely high triglyceridesmay result in side effects like pancreatitis, an enlargedliver and spleen, and xanthomas, or fatty deposits in theskin.
If your triglyceride levels are elevated, it likely representsa severe abnormality of insulin balance in your body, and it is very important to lower themsince, again, high triglycerides are an incredibly potentrisk factor for heart disease.
Fortunately, you are being armed with the information youneed to get things under control--triglyceride elevation isone of the most easy and straightforward problems to correctby dramatically reducing, or eliminating, grains and sugarsin your diet. This includes bread, pasta, rice, potatoes,corn, bagels, cereals, crackers and sweets like cookies, candiesand fruit juice. You can read more about the role of sugarsin elevated triglycerides in this review in the October 2003 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Although this type of dietary change may sound overwhelmingto start, you will soon break your addiction to grains andsugar and your desire for them will decrease, along with yourtriglyceride levels. Plus, you will likely have more energythan you've had in years. My book, The No-Grain Diet, can help you on your way to a grain-, sugar-freelifestyle.
Along with the diet there are two other factors that willprotect your cardiovascular health: regularly taking a high-quality krill oil that is chock full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, and getting plenty of exercise.
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