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TOPIC: Tryglycerides through the roof

 
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August 16, 2010 1:45 PM
So as part of some tests as a check-up, my doctor noticed my triglycerides are through the roof (I think he said 475). This is dangerously high, I know. My other cholesterol levels he said "were fine". I know my good cholesterol is probably low due to my lack of exercise (starting up again now), but other than the triglycerides, my "cardiac enzymes" and cholesterol look good.

I'm 33, 5'9-5'10 and weigh 158 currently.

My ultimate goal is to actually put weight on and build muscle mass (I'm a below average muscle build I'd say), but I want to get the triglycerides under control.

So, I'm looking for tips on things to eat (and not eat) as well as exercise frequency/duration/intensity level.

My doctor said to avoid sugars and processed foods, so I've cut out sugar in my coffee and have stayed away from candy and sugary stuff. But does this include fruits? Because one of my favorite snacks is a banana or apple.

My main form of exercise will likely be swimming or riding a stationary bike. About a year ago when I was still exercising regularly and eating better, I was doing 80 laps a day 5-6 days a week (all in a row, mind you, at an average to slightly below average speed). I'd do those 80 laps in about 35-40 minutes. I went a few days ago and did 40 laps in 4 sets of 10, as I was a bit winded. I think much of that was due to my poor diet so my body not having enough energy for the workout. So I'm definitely starting with the diet - eating small meals throughout the day and trying to keep it mostly protein or fresh fruits/veggies.

But I'm curious if anyone out there has other tips regarding reduction of triglyceride levels? I am also taking fish oil (doc said to take 4,000 mg/day - 2 pills with breakfast and 2 with dinner) and starting to drink plenty of water. So other suggestions are welcome.

Let me describe my habits during the past year after I stopped working out so you can see where I am coming from any perhaps why I'm where I am. :)

- I was and am terrible about eating properly. It wasn't atypical for me to eat maybe an apple or banana in the morning and NO other food until dinner time. I don't know if this contributed to the triglycerides' increase or what, but I'm sure it didn't help!
- We moved cross-country, so I started a new job (read: stress)
- It was a tough move because we had moved back east to be near family, and I felt really guilty about taking my two children away from their grandparents (especially my parents, who were extremely close to them).
- When I started the new job, I was actually out here on my own while my wife and 2 kids stayed back east while we were trying to sell our house. This is about when I stopped exercising and eating right. It was just too easy to lapse back into a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits.

Well thankfully we found a house here and are all settled in, and I really need to crack down on this and get my heart health in shape.

I don't think at this point I really want to or need to lose weight. I'm fairly lean, except around the belly, so I plan to do plenty of sit-ups along with my cardio. But at this point I'm just looking to maintain my weight, but get the triglyceride levels down. Once those are under control, then I'll change my diet and exercise routine for building muscle.

Sorry if I'm rambling here... :) But any expertise or experience with triglyceride levels would be much appreciated!

Thanks!
August 16, 2010 1:51 PM
The PA that I work with says to make sure that when you exercise you sweat because that's what burns the triglycerides. Also cut out the animal fats as much as possible. Good luck.
August 16, 2010 2:07 PM
Why cut out animal fats?

Your doc is right...sugar. Cut out the sugar...especially the processed foods.

A banana or an apple as a snack will have no negative effects on your blood, and plenty of positive. In particular is you eat it before or after your workout.

Eat complex carbs (brown rice, steel-cut oats, barley), if you must have bread eat whole wheat versions, same goes for pasta. Eat fat, carbs, and protein at each meal. Make sure you are getting enough protein. A guy of your size would benefit from at least 100 grams of protein each day to promote the growth of lean muscle mass.

And sweat.
  208600
August 16, 2010 2:43 PM
Thanks everyone. Definitely cutting out the sugar is a major thing I am doing. I have been eating too much candy of late (not sure why haha). I am a sucker for skittles, damn things.

So no more sugar in my coffee and no more candy. I'm also trying not to eat anything processed (e.g. snack stuff). Doing carrot sticks or similar as a snack instead when hungry.

Great info on the complex carbs and we do already eat whole wheat bread and when we have rice we do brown rice.

My problem seems to be eating enough calories and of the "right things". Since I want to maintain my weight, 2070 is my target caloric intake and I'm having trouble keeping that up and wind up "end loading" my intake (e.g. eating more say after dinner to try to get up to my target). I've read nuts are a good way to increase calorie intake as a snack and are "good fats" to eat, so I'm trying that.

Should I double up on the cottage cheese/yogurt mid-meal snacks and eat more oatmeal/grains in the morning to try to avoid the end-loading effect, or do you guys have proven suggestions?

Thanks again!
August 16, 2010 3:58 PM
Do you drink alcohol? That causes high levels. go to www.mayoclinic.com and put lowering triiglycerides into the search - it's a short article
August 16, 2010 4:08 PM
FYI, There has been a link in studies between Birth Control Pills and High Cholesterol/ Triglycerides. That's on eof the reasons my wife went off them. Don't know if that's relavent or not.
Edited by angusandskye On August 16, 2010 4:09 PM
  1661084
August 16, 2010 4:43 PM
You might find this helpful:

http://www.diet.com/g/hypertriglyceridemia

I would also make sure you are getting the complete picture from your doctor--high triglycerides are sometimes not a primary abnormality, but a secondary consequence of something else.
August 16, 2010 5:23 PM
Don't drink too often anymore. Not even once a week, usually. And I'm male (I must have forgotten to mention that, sorry) so it's not related to birth control pills :)

Thanks for the link on hypertriglceridemia, interesting read and also could be something else causing this.

The only medication I was taking was a lot of ibuprofen which I have drastically reduced, and I was taking hydrocodone/ibuprofen for headaches which have thankfully gone away so I don't have to take those anymore. But even then it was maybe only 7 days a month, would that cause this?

Well I'm going to see how the diet and starting to get some exercise does and I'll be sure to ask my doctor if this is a possible secondary symptom of something else going on. He did do some checking of my thyroid levels because he saw some abnormalities but had to get the T3/T4/TH re-taken so I'll find out the deal with the thyroid stuff next week.
August 16, 2010 6:03 PM
Smoking raises triglycerides too (you probably don't smoke, but I thought I would mention it)
I too have high triglycerides and bad cholesterol level is not good either. I hope with diet and exercise
to raise the good and lower the bad.
Good lucksmile
  1630830
August 16, 2010 8:25 PM
I did from junior year of high school (so ~17) until I graduated college (21), then quit for a while then started again when I was about 27 about 1/2 -1/3 pack a day until 2 years ago. Haven't smoked since other than 1 while in Italy on business when I learned another of my friends was leaving the company and sticking me with more work haha. But no, not for 2 years now have I smoked. Should be long enough ago to not affect triglycerides I'd hope, but who knows!
August 16, 2010 8:43 PM
QUOTE:

Why cut out animal fats?


Because triglycerides come from saturated fats and majority of sat. fats come from foods with animal origins. My dad has hypertriglyceridemia (basically a hereditary condition of having too much triglycerides in the blood as the article Azdak linked explained -- I'm hoping it didn't get passed on to me!) and has only had normal readings after going vegan and taking a prescription for niacin. And this is a guy who's constantly active -- hunter, fisher, construction worker, etc.
  1400039
August 16, 2010 10:16 PM
QUOTE:

Do you drink alcohol? That causes high levels. go to www.mayoclinic.com and put lowering triiglycerides into the search - it's a short article


Alcohol is a sugar so it will also increase triglyceride levels. Here's an article about sugar & triglycerides, although it doesn't mention alcohol. http://www.theheart.org/article/1068299.do
  40364
August 17, 2010 4:39 AM
QUOTE:

Why cut out animal fats?

Your doc is right...sugar. Cut out the sugar...especially the processed foods.

A banana or an apple as a snack will have no negative effects on your blood, and plenty of positive. In particular is you eat it before or after your workout.

Eat complex carbs (brown rice, steel-cut oats, barley), if you must have bread eat whole wheat versions, same goes for pasta. Eat fat, carbs, and protein at each meal. Make sure you are getting enough protein. A guy of your size would benefit from at least 100 grams of protein each day to promote the growth of lean muscle mass.

And sweat.


+100

Sugar and simple carbs raise triglycerides. Limit them as much as possible.

Speaking as a former vege-carbi-tarian, my triglycerides went through the roof eating a high carbohydrate diet. No offense to the other poster, but I don't exactly buy the story that animal fats raise triglyceride levels. They do, however, raise large particle LDL and HDL, and that's beneficial.
August 17, 2010 10:36 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Why cut out animal fats?


Because triglycerides come from saturated fats and majority of sat. fats come from foods with animal origins. My dad has hypertriglyceridemia (basically a hereditary condition of having too much triglycerides in the blood as the article Azdak linked explained -- I'm hoping it didn't get passed on to me!) and has only had normal readings after going vegan and taking a prescription for niacin. And this is a guy who's constantly active -- hunter, fisher, construction worker, etc.


Going vegan also means cutting out the processed foods though, doesn't it? If he added animal protein back into his diet while maintaining the other vegan principle methinks there'd be NO impact on his triglycerides.

Even if thats not the case your dad is an exception rather than the rule.

Sugar is THE reason for triglyceride spikes. Find me someone who doesn't eat process sugar and eats animal fat who has triglycerides and I'll eat my words...on the flip side I'll find you MILLIONS of people who've cut out animal fat yet still have high tryglicerides.

Just saying.
  208600
August 17, 2010 11:14 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Why cut out animal fats?

Your doc is right...sugar. Cut out the sugar...especially the processed foods.

A banana or an apple as a snack will have no negative effects on your blood, and plenty of positive. In particular is you eat it before or after your workout.

Eat complex carbs (brown rice, steel-cut oats, barley), if you must have bread eat whole wheat versions, same goes for pasta. Eat fat, carbs, and protein at each meal. Make sure you are getting enough protein. A guy of your size would benefit from at least 100 grams of protein each day to promote the growth of lean muscle mass.

And sweat.


+100

Sugar and simple carbs raise triglycerides. Limit them as much as possible.

Speaking as a former vege-carbi-tarian, my triglycerides went through the roof eating a high carbohydrate diet. No offense to the other poster, but I don't exactly buy the story that animal fats raise triglyceride levels. They do, however, raise large particle LDL and HDL, and that's beneficial.

I can tell you you're right! I had high cholesterol/high trigly's 4 months ago now.
I changed my diet to low GI (cut sugars), took 3 1,000 mg fish oil pills/day (ok 2, I usually forget to take the one after dinner), and increased my exercise to 5 days/week minimum (usually 6). My cholesterol was 238, went down to 189 in 3 months on this. My trigly's were up and went down well into the normal range (don't have the exact #'s on that). My good cholesterol went up, bad chol. went down. Everything is fine.
I never had to cut out animal products to get there. I still eat Turkey bacon, egg whites, cheese, milk, i do turkey hot dogs and hamburgers and eat smart balance butter as a normal part of my diet.
Edited by rose1617 On August 17, 2010 11:15 AM
  165998
August 17, 2010 1:13 PM
Ok, definitely focusing on eliminating the sugars. One note of concern, take my food intake yesterday for example. I wasn't feeling too hot in the morning so I didn't eat anything until ~1pm or so.

So I only ate a total of 1,275 calories. I looked at the details and I am WAY over on sugars (89g).

I think the recommended was like 49 or 59 or something like that.

I think I'm going to have to cut out yogurt because a 4 oz. yoplait yogurt was 15g right there. 1/3 of my sugar! Then the banana and apple each were about 17g.

So I'm a little concerned here...if my sugar intake is the likely reason for such high triglycerides, I'm really not seeing how I can keep myself to 45-50g of sugars if I'm eating 2 pieces of fruit a day. Or is the sugar in the fruits "ok" and won't necessarily contribute to the triglycerides?

I guess what I'm asking is WHICH sugars translate to higher triglyceride levels? Correct me if I'm wrong but:

fruit == fructose
this yogurt just says "sugar" in the ingredients, I'm guessing that is sucrose?

I'm guessing fructose is ok (but I still shouldn't be eating like 6 pieces of fruit in my case right?), but I should steer clear of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, what others?

I guess anything processes is likely a "bad" sugar, so that's easy enough to avoid. But what about supposedly good things for you like yogurt or say the silk chocolate soy milk. Just trying to make sure I avoid the right things, and I'm hoping I don't have to cut out fruits too, but I'll do it if I need to.

Even things like carrots or tomatoes have some fructose in them, right? So what the heck can I eat?! :)
August 17, 2010 2:38 PM
Six servings of fruit might be a bit excessive for someone in your situation. Try keeping it to 2-3/day until you get it down. Try sticking to low GI fruits as well: berries, canteloupe, apples, citrus.

For the yogurt, switch to plain if you can and sweeten it with fruit. 1 cup of Fage 0% greek yogurt has 9 carbs and 20 grams of protein. The sugars found in plain yogurt and milk have a low GI so don't worry about those too much either. The flavored yogurt has a ton of sugar added to it so avoid it.

You REALLY need to eat before 1pm. It will help you keep your energy up and hit your caloric goals for the day.

I would also avoid the chocolate silk soy milk, that has sugar added to it. No different than drinking chocolate milk. Stick to good ol' 2% cow's milk if you like it (I go whole myself).
  208600
August 17, 2010 2:41 PM
I don't eat fruit daily because it does affect my sugar levels (though some people it doesn't, so see what works for you).
Although when I do, I don't count it as what I would consider "sugar". Also, I try to sick to fruits that are lower in sugar (look that up on the GI index, should give you a good idea).
I usually only count "added sugar", which would be your sucrose, corn syrup, etc.
Basically that means no fruit juices, yogurt also is a no (again for me, some people don't have a problem with it), steer clear of chocolate anything or only have it in moderation. Regular soy milk isn't bad I don't think. I'm not a fan so I don't drink it because I don't like the taste, but maybe someone who does can weigh in on that.
Bottom line: natural sugars (in moderation - and again that is my opinion and what works for me) ok. Added sugars: not ok.
  165998

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