Carbohydrates Are Major Cause of High Triglycerides
Triglycerides are fats that are found in the blood and they are normally healthy and contribute to important physiological processes. They are used by the body for energy and are used for the storage of it as well. They are also essential to the transport of cholesterol, necessary for brain and nerve health, throughout the body. However, sometimes the triglycerides levels in the blood can become too high, and this can lead to long term health complications like heart attacks and strokes. One major cause of high triglycerides comes in the form of foods that we eat every day.
Foods that are high in saturated fat are a big contributor to the buildup of excess triglycerides in the blood. And, foods high in triglycerides to begin with like oils and butters are also responsible for increasing triglyceride levels. But, there is another food source of these elevated levels in the form of carbohydrates, particularly simple carbohydrates. The body takes in carbohydrates and converts them into body fuel producing glucose. Extra glucose that the body does not use for energy purposes is stored in the form of fat. And therefore an excess of calories from simple sugar sources can lead to an excess of triglycerides in the body.
Essentially, the way in which simple sugars are a major cause of high triglycerides has to do with the way in which the body processes these so differently from complex carbohydrates. When foods rich in simple carbs are ingested, the body uses them for energy very quickly, and the result is a rapid rise in glucose levels in the bloodstream. The pancreas responds by upping its production of insulin. An overload of carbs that the body simply can not use all at once combined with a maximum capacity of the storage of glycogen can lead to the conversion of the excess glucose into triglycerides by the liver. These manufactured triglycerides are sent to fat cells. This relationship between triglycerides and sugar intake indicates the extreme connection between diet and maintaining healthy levels of blood fats, and shows how simple carbohydrates can be a key cause of high triglycerides.
High triglycerides can negatively impact the body in many different ways. And, the presence of higher than acceptable ranges can also indicate other issues with the blood fat levels within the body. Persons with elevated triglycerides also often have lower than desirable levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol, which can protect against heart disease. The cholesterol HDL ratio in these individuals can also be elevated. It is acceptable for the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol to be 2 or less (this number can be calculated by dividing the level of triglycerides by the total HDL). Higher ratios can often coincide with the presence of blood clotting disorders as well.
Higher than normal levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with a significantly increased risk of both heart attacks and strokes. In fact, high triglycerides have been linked to a nearly thrice as likely chance of having a heart attack. It has been suggested that evaluating the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides within the body can be the best way to predict heart disease, furthering the importance of identifying these levels early and eliminating any known cause of high triglycerides and cholesterol.
High sugar foods should be avoided like a plague to eliminate the risk of elevated levels of triglycerides. Sweets like donuts and cakes as well as candies should be avoided by persons who have higher than desirable levels of the blood fats. Another often forgotten simple sugar based cause of high triglycerides is sugary beverages like soda and many fruit juices. Even diets that reduce or eliminate some food sources can be stymied by the incorporation of these sugary drinks. But, it is not just the tasty sweets that can be considered a cause of high triglycerides. Many foods that aren’t often thought of as necessarily bad for the body can be culprits too. White flour and white rice, for example, contain simple sugars that the body uses the same way it does the simple sugars from a candy bar. Complex carbohydrate choices are better substitutes for these such as brown rice and whole wheat flour.
The management of high triglycerides is typically a complex assortment of varied treatment methods including medical management and monitoring, lifestyle and dietary changes as well as sometimes the use of medications like fibrates and statins if necessary. Many people happily find however that reducing the dietary cause of high triglycerides has a dramatic impact on returning the levels of these blood fats to healthy levels, therefore dramatically decreasing the risk for serious and long term health complications.