Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood that are used by your body as a source of energy and stored in fat cells. High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems, but can be managed and lowered through dietary changes with the help of a registered dietitian.
What are triglycerides?
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. They are formed from a molecule of glycerol and three fatty acids. Triglycerides are used by your body as a source of energy and are stored in fat cells.
Triglycerides are produced in your liver and also come from the food you eat, especially foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, such as fatty meats, butter, cheese, and fried foods. High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.
Triglyceride levels can be measured through a blood test, and a normal level is typically considered to be less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If your triglyceride levels are high, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet, increased exercise, and medications to lower your levels and reduce your risk of health problems.
Which foods are high in triglycerides?
Foods that are high in triglycerides include:
- Fried foods: Fried foods like French fries, fried chicken, and onion rings are high in both fat and calories, which can lead to high triglyceride levels.
- Fatty meats: Meats that are high in fat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, can contribute to high triglyceride levels.
- Dairy products: Dairy products like cheese, butter, and cream are high in saturated fat, which can increase your triglyceride levels.
- Processed snacks: Processed snacks like crackers, chips, and cookies are often high in both fat and sugar, which can increase your triglyceride levels.
- Sugary drinks: Drinks that are high in sugar, such as soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks, can also contribute to high triglyceride levels.
To lower your triglyceride levels, it's important to focus on a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fats, and added sugars. This includes foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
How can a dietitian help with triglycerides?
A registered dietitian (RD) can be very helpful in managing and lowering triglycerides through dietary changes. Here are some ways a dietitian can help:
- Evaluate your current diet: A dietitian can review your current diet and identify areas where you may be consuming too much saturated fat, trans fats, and added sugars, which can contribute to high triglycerides.
- Create a personalized meal plan: A dietitian can help you create a personalized meal plan that is low in saturated and trans fats, high in fiber, and includes healthy fats, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.
- Provide education on food labels: A dietitian can teach you how to read food labels to identify foods that are high in saturated fat, trans fats, and added sugars.
- Provide support and accountability: A dietitian can provide ongoing support and accountability to help you stick to your dietary changes and monitor your progress.
- Recommend supplements: Some supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and niacin may help lower triglycerides. A dietitian can help you determine if supplements are necessary and recommend appropriate dosages.
- Collaborate with your healthcare team: A dietitian can work collaboratively with your healthcare team to ensure that your dietary changes are aligned with any other medical conditions or medications you may be taking.
Overall, a dietitian can play an important role in helping you manage and lower your triglyceride levels through dietary changes that are tailored to your specific needs and goals.
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