Are triglyceride levels related to ingestion of fat or carbohydrates? Which diet is best for lowering triglycerides?
—Colleen Root, MD, Fishers, Ind.
The specific diet recommended for patients with hypertriglyceridemia depends on the underlying cause and the triglyceride level. Patients with elevated triglyceride levels should avoid diets high in simple carbohydrates, especially those containing fructose (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup or juices), as these have been associated with postprandial hypertriglyceridemia (Nutr Rev. 2005;63:133-157).
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), patients with triglyceride levels >1,000 mg/dL should be started on very-low-fat diets (<15% of total calories as fat) to reduce chylomicronemia. Beyond these specific recommendations, the primary therapies for elevated triglycerides are therapeutic lifestyle changes with weight loss; a reduced-calorie diet that is low in saturated fats and high in grains, fruits, and vegetables; regular exercise; smoking cessation; and moderation of alcohol intake.
—Susan Kashaf, MD, MPH (121-6)