The triglycerides are molecules constituted by a molecule of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acids, which in our body are principally engaged energy reserve function.
They are, in fact, the main components of adipose tissue and accumulate inside the cells that form this tissue, the adipocytes . In addition to their energy reserve function, triglycerides also protect us from low temperatures by acting as a thermal insulator and creating a sort of “protective barrier”.
For these reasons their presence inside our body is vital and very low levels of triglycerides are associated with various problems. However, as we all know, it is usually the high triglyceride level that raises concerns about our health. First of all, let’s try to understand together how the level of triglycerides present in our body is evaluated .
To evaluate the lipid profile of a patient today, the value of triglycerides present in the blood after a fasting period of at least 12 hours is also considered routine and this value is evaluated with a rather simple and precise technique.
A high value of triglycerides is associated with a reduced value of HDL cholesterol and an increased value of LDL cholesterol (the so-called “bad cholesterol”). The correlation between high amounts of triglycerides and the onset of cardiovascular disease is not considered as safe as the correlation between LDL cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, but we can say with certainty that high triglycerides are one of the components of the metabolic syndrome , a set of conditions that they increase the risk of developing cerebro and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes .
Severe hypertriglyceridemia conditions also increase the likelihood of developing pancreatitis , sudden and sometimes very severe inflammation of the pancreas.
The levels of triglycerides considered “normal” are less than 150 mg / dl, but the “limit” value beyond which triglycerides begin to be a real risk factor is unknown and according to some authors it could even be less than 150 mg / dl.
In any case, the guidelines speak of:
- Borderline-high triglycerides when the value is between 150 and 199 mg / dl;
- High triglycerides when the value is between 200 and 499 (or between 200 and 999, depending on the criteria used);
- Severe hypertriglyceridemia when the value exceeds 500 mg / dl (or 1000 mg / dl).
Factors that cause an increase in the value of triglycerides in the blood are: weight gain and obesity, poor physical activity, high alcohol consumption, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and genetic alterations.
Similarly, it is now known that nutrition can considerably affect the onset of cardiovascular diseases and that at times small or large changes in one’s eating habits can solve very risky problems.
To understand in detail which foods to choose or avoid in case of high triglycerides we must start from a simple premise: triglycerides are abundantly contained (they constitute 90-98%) in dietary fat. Therefore, in case of compromised situations, a large part of our attention must be linked to the choice of the quantity and above all the quality of the fats .
At the same time, however, we must know that the metabolism of fats and sugars are closely linked and therefore a diet rich in sugar or simple carbohydrates can be equally deleterious. Let’s see together 10 foods or food groups that should be limited or eliminated from our diet in case of high triglycerides .
10 foods to avoid with high triglycerides
It is now known with dietary fructose to affect and increase blood triglyceride levels. This effect is considered dose-dependent and begins to be perceptible when fructose exceeds 10% of the daily caloric intake .
In particular, it has been estimated that a consumption of fructose between 15 and 20% of the daily caloric intake was reflected in an increase in blood triglycerides by 30 or 40%. Fructose is certainly contained in fruit , which however also contains a good amount of fiber, but at the same time it is increasingly used as a sweetener, to replace common sugar.
It is also good to remember and emphasize that sucrose (the common sugar, in fact) is actually made up of a molecule of glucose and a molecule of fructose. Therefore it is absolutely essential to reduce or eliminate (if possible) the consumption of sugar and fructose, especially when added to foods.
Alcohol consumption has a very negative impact on the level of our triglycerides . In case of already ascertained hypertriglyceridemia, even a small amount of alcohol can aggravate the situation; in the case of normal levels of triglycerides, the situation worsens only when alcohol consumption exceeds the maximum doses recommended by the guidelines (10-30 g of alcohol per day).
3. White and refined flours
As we mentioned above, the metabolism of sugars is closely linked to that of fats. An unbalanced diet rich in simple carbohydrates and refined flours with a high glycemic index leads to an increase in blood triglycerides due to the glycemic (and insulinemic) peak induced by the diet.
4. Butter and lard
Among the foods to avoid in case of high triglycerides we find butter and lard, two products of animal origin rich in fats. As we have seen, most of the fats we take in our diet are made up of triglycerides and therefore, when the situation is already compromised, the consumption of these foods must be moderate.
5. Sweetened drinks and fruit juices
Even sugary drinks are to be avoided in case of high triglyceride values . This is because, as we have seen, sugars are deleterious for two reasons: they alter glucose metabolism and contain fructose. In fact, sugary drinks and fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar and, at the same time, do not contain fibers or other beneficial components that would limit the increase in blood glucose levels.
6. Baked products containing “vegetable fats”
The trans fatty acids are detrimental to our cardiovascular health and for our triglyceride levels. In nature, however, most of the fatty acids are found in the cis comparison and it is mainly the artificial transformation carried out by man that favors their transformation. Examples of processes leading to the creation and accumulation of trans fatty acids are the refining and hydrogenation of vegetable oils. Therefore, in case of high triglycerides , all those packaged products containing this type of vegetable oils should be avoided.
7. Animal offal, animal meats rich in fat and fatty sausages
Although containing various nutrients useful for our health, offal such as liver, heart, kidneys, kidneys and brain are rich in fat and, therefore, in triglycerides, as well as other fatty foods of animal origin. In case of high blood triglyceride values , therefore, it is advisable to reduce or eliminate the consumption of these foods.
8. Fried food
Another category of foods to avoid with high triglycerides is fried food. In fact, during frying, vegetable oils are exposed to very high temperatures, with consequent transformation of fatty acids from the “cis” conformation to the “trans” conformation which, as we have seen, are deleterious for our health.
9. Honey, jam and candied fruit
Also in this case we must emphasize that the consumption of these products rich in sugar and with a high glycemic index can alter the glucose metabolism causing glycemic spikes and increasing the production of insulin. Consequently, the lipid metabolism is also altered and the production of triglycerides increases .
Sweets also inevitably change the carbohydrate profile by raising blood sugar and stimulating the production of insulin by the pancreas. In desserts, in fact, the main ingredients are: refined flours, sugar or honey or various syrups and possibly fruit. As we have seen, these foods are problematic in the case of hypertriglyceridemia .
Regardless of the cause of hypertriglyceridemia , dietary control and lifestyle changes are essential. There is now a lot of evidence that shows that the reduction of body weight and the increase of moderate-to-high intensity physical activity are associated with a decrease in blood levels of triglycerides and therefore lower the risk of developing pancreatitis or cardiovascular diseases.
In this regard, it is therefore absolutely essential to contact your trusted specialists: the doctor for the prescription of any natural remedies or drug therapy, where deemed necessary and the nutritionist biologist, dietician or dietician for targeted and personalized advice regarding changes in the your eating style.
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