Feb 7, 2012

Q & A with the Dietitian: Healthy Diet for Lowering Triglycerides

I am thankful.

Thankful that my son no longer has attachment anxiety - took about 12 months but it's FINALLY over. Thankful for rainy days like today. And thankful for wonderful friends who ask great questions.

This week, the topic is lowering your triglycerides. High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and other health problems, making it super important to take steps when your younger to prevent the condition. The only way you can know your triglyceride level is through lab tests, so it's beneficial for adults to get them checked annually.

No surprises, the basics of prevention include a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, lean meats and low-fat dairy.


Anonymous writes: "My uncle needs something to be done. He's too heavy with a fused spine and his triglyceride levels are like 400 when it needs to be half and all docs wanna do is up dosage of meds so I recommended a protein supplement to him cause my buddy has had great results (400 down to 270) while using it. What do you think?"


Thanks for your question!

There are so many supplement lines, it's hard to keep track. Supplements are not regulated by any governing body (like the FDA), so it's hard to know for sure if their health claims are true and even whether the ingredients listed are actually in the product.

In general, I recommend "food first". Rarely is there a need for a supplement unless someone has a specific medical condition and it is recommended by a doctor or dietitian. I've found that most people use to supplements to help gain muscle or lose fat, but both can be done just as easily (and much cheaper!) through healthy foods and regular exercise. That's my professional and personal experience :)

While I don't know much about your uncle or other potential medical conditions he has, I would recommend the basics of lowering your triglycerides -- lose weight if needed by eating fewer calories, increase fiber intake through whole grains, fruits and veggies and eat a low-fat diet (especially limiting saturated fats and avoiding trans fats), and regular exercise. Ceasing smoking and limiting alcohol intake also helps.

I've seen this work for people I've counseled and I'm confident it will help your uncle as well. 


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