Very High Triglycerides - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community
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#1 Old 03-23-2011, 07:24 AM
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I've been struggling with high triglycerides for the past few years and I just got a call from my doctor to discuss my latest blood work results: Good cholesterol - Excellent, Bad Cholesterol and Blood Sugar - as low as low can be, but my triglycerides are sky high (in the 400's) and my doctor wants to put me on meds to help lower them. But I'm very resistent. I don't want to have to start taking medication at such a young age (33). I take about 9000 mg or flax oil a day (per my doctors reccomendation) I keep my sugar intake under 20 grams, I keep my sodium intake low, about 40-45g of fat per day, no caffeine, working on losing weight --- I'm at my wits end as to what else I can do to lower my levels. The doctor agrees that I am doing everything right and is pretty certain it's hereditary but I'm still holding on to the hope that I can lower these levels myself. Has anyone had similar problems? if so, any suggestions? What am I not doing right?

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#2 Old 03-23-2011, 07:37 AM
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Do you eat any refined carbohydrates or a lot of grain based foods? Do you eat animal products? What about alcohol, do you drink? Are you exercising? If so, how much?

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#3 Old 03-23-2011, 07:46 AM
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Whole wheat, multi grain out the yin yang - If I go out to eat, I allow myself to indulge, but those times are far and few. I do eat a good amount of carbs, but I stay within what I should be eating for my weight and daily caloric intake...usually the higher end of the scale though.

I still eat some dairy, but again, mostly a weekend thing if I'm out and about.

Alcohol - very little, usually none...I'd say 2-4 drinks a month, if that.

I definitely need to exercise more, but I walk about 2 miles a day.

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#4 Old 03-23-2011, 07:58 AM
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What I do know is that a client I recently worked with had high cholesterol and triglycerides.

I had him a eat no sugars (honey, maple syrup etc) or foods containing sugars, carb controlled (only brown rice and quinoa and only with lentils or beans or tofu or tempeh or seitan), high greens, high fiber, higher raw, totally vegan diet with a minimum of 30 minutes (usually 60 or 90) minutes of exercise to sweating point daily, flax and chia included and NO ALCOHOL and in less than 2 months his numbers fell into the normal/low range.

Your body and needs may be completely different than his, but the doctors told him his levels were hereditary, insinuating that there was nothing he could do about it when that was obviously not true; he fully committed to changing his lifestyle and diet and for him, it worked, rapidly.

Supplementation with niacin, Coenzyme Q10, garlic and a high soluble fiber diet can also help.

Best of luck to you!

"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#5 Old 03-23-2011, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by *AHIMSA* View Post

What I do know is that a client I recently worked with had high cholesterol and triglycerides.

I had him a eat no sugars (honey, maple syrup etc) or foods containing sugars, carb controlled (only brown rice and quinoa and only with lentils or beans or tofu or tempeh or seitan), high greens, high fiber, higher raw, totally vegan diet with a minimum of 30 minutes (usually 60 or 90) minutes of exercise to sweating point daily, flax and chia included and NO ALCOHOL and in less than 2 months his numbers fell into the normal/low range.

Your body and needs may be completely different than his, but the doctors told him his levels were hereditary, insinuating that there was nothing he could do about it when that was obviously not true; he fully committed to changing his lifestyle and diet and for him, it worked, rapidly.

Supplementation with niacin, Coenzyme Q10, garlic and a high soluble fiber diet can also help.

Best of luck to you!


Oh I do take niacin, had no idea that it was helpful in this situation. Yeah, I do not like the fact that doctors offer so little advice and want to just resort to meds. That diet sounds amazing. I'm going to give it a shot. I've been trying to get more raw into my diet anyhow. The no sugar, no bread thing is going to be tough, but I'd much rather do this than be a slave to meds. I already have thyroid issues, I don't want to add more synthetic drugs into the mix. Thank you!

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#6 Old 03-23-2011, 10:12 AM
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My latest bloodwork came back with high triglycerides (over 300) and as a meat-eater this was always low (under 100) so I do know that at least in part it's related to adopting a vegetarian diet. I eat very healthy (only whole grains, no sugar, etc) but unfortunately for some of us, reducing triglycerides will involve reducing carbohydrates in general not just the bad kind. There's also some discussion as to whether high triglycerides in a veg*n diet has the same effect as high triglycerides in an omni diet (Ornish has been addressing this).
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#7 Old 03-23-2011, 10:20 AM
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My latest bloodwork came back with high triglycerides (over 300) and as a meat-eater this was always low (under 100) so I do know that at least in part it's related to adopting a vegetarian diet. I eat very healthy (only whole grains, no sugar, etc) but unfortunately for some of us, reducing triglycerides will involve reducing carbohydrates in general not just the bad kind. There's also some discussion as to whether high triglycerides in a veg*n diet has the same effect as high triglycerides in an omni diet (Ornish has been addressing this).


I can do less carbs, but I get so very frustrated trying to balance my diet without a decent amount of carbs. I can't seem to eat enough calories when I really try to eat clean. And when I do get enough calories, I'm eating too much fat.

That's pretty interesting though, but I guess it makes sense. Over compensating on carbs was something I did when I first started out because I always felt so hungry!

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#8 Old 03-23-2011, 10:24 AM
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This may be an unpopular opinion, but don't be afraid of fat. It's carbs more than anything that drives triglycerides.
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#9 Old 03-23-2011, 10:25 AM
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This may be an unpopular opinion, but don't be afraid of fat. It's carbs more than anything that drives triglycerides.


"Yes! Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" Auntie Mame
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#10 Old 03-23-2011, 10:26 AM
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My fat comes from a good place for the most part...avocado, hummus, soy, nuts, olive oil

ok less carbs it is. let's hope this works.

thanks!

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#11 Old 03-23-2011, 10:29 AM
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P.S. it drives me bonkers that doctors don't tell you these things. (If they even have a clue about nutrition, that is). Thank goodness for these message boards! So many knowledgable people that help make my life easier...haha.

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#12 Old 03-24-2011, 12:34 AM
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I've read that cinnamon is good for lowering triglycrides and blood sugar, and there's some research to back that up too. They found that as little as one gram of ground cinnamon a day (less than half a teaspoon) produced some pretty dramatic results.

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/con.../3215.abstract
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#13 Old 03-24-2011, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by *AHIMSA* View Post

What I do know is that a client I recently worked with had high cholesterol and triglycerides.

I've met this man. He's real!

She has some great tips.
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#14 Old 03-24-2011, 10:50 AM
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if i were really serious about my health and wanting to avoid the meds, i'd take a very good look at dean ornish, caldwell esselstyn. these doctors (they're cardiologists) would argue that the "good" fats you're eating aren't so good for you. these doctors advise no oils or nuts, period. you are not having a high triglyceride level because you're eating complex carbs. did you ever consider that it could be the oils you're eating? when they call them "good" oils, it doesn't mean they are actually good for you. it means they aren't as bad as the terrible oils.

at the very least, i'd read what these doctors have to say, in depth and with an open mind. ultimately, it does take a lot of determination to retrain your palate. i don't think there's much disputing the science here. i have seen so many heart attacks and chest pain and people taking 40 pills a day because they eat a lousy western diet. i've seen overweight vegetarians get heart stents. it's a never ending revolving door.

one of the many youtube links to esselstyn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNeWCvLZaFM . this is a doctor who does understand nutrition.
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#15 Old 03-24-2011, 11:04 AM
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another very good website: http://www.drmcdougall.com/index.html

good luck with your health .
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#16 Old 03-24-2011, 11:31 AM
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if i were really serious about my health and wanting to avoid the meds, i'd take a very good look at dean ornish, caldwell esselstyn. these doctors (they're cardiologists) would argue that the "good" fats you're eating aren't so good for you. these doctors advise no oils or nuts, period. you are not having a high triglyceride level because you're eating complex carbs. did you ever consider that it could be the oils you're eating? when they call them "good" oils, it doesn't mean they are actually good for you. it means they aren't as bad as the terrible oils.

at the very least, i'd read what these doctors have to say, in depth and with an open mind. ultimately, it does take a lot of determination to retrain your palate. i don't think there's much disputing the science here. i have seen so many heart attacks and chest pain and people taking 40 pills a day because they eat a lousy western diet. i've seen overweight vegetarians get heart stents. it's a never ending revolving door.

one of the many youtube links to esselstyn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNeWCvLZaFM . this is a doctor who does understand nutrition.

In actuality, I don't really eat much oil, and when it do it's almost always extra virgin olive oil. Looks like I have a lot to take into consideration though! I am very anti going the pill route and am pretty determined to do this the right way.

Digger mentioned Ornish as well, I'll have to check him out. Thank you much!

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#17 Old 03-24-2011, 11:54 AM
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I agree with papayamon. If I were you, I'd stop consuming fats in nonfood forms. That flax oil supplement you're taking? I'd stop that. That's just me, and by all means check in with doctors, but I don't think that you can reasonably think that cutting complex carbs is the right solution to high triglycerides. Its more reasonable to assume that the high fat in your blood is more related to high fat in your supplement routine than to high complex carbs in your diet. Fat is fat.

Alternative causes: thyroid, medications, etc.
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#18 Old 03-24-2011, 12:49 PM
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I agree with papayamon. If I were you, I'd stop consuming fats in nonfood forms. That flax oil supplement you're taking? I'd stop that. That's just me, and by all means check in with doctors, but I don't think that you can reasonably think that cutting complex carbs is the right solution to high triglycerides. Its more reasonable to assume that the high fat in your blood is more related to high fat in your supplement routine than to high complex carbs in your diet. Fat is fat.

Alternative causes: thyroid, medications, etc.

You know, I have been contemplating nixing the flax, but that is the only suggestion my doctor gave me, so I've stuck it out. I'm really unhappy with her, she offers little advice aside from taking medication. But flax oil is rich in omegas too, so I figured I was killing 2 birds with one stone. I'd just grind seeds if I could consume the equivilent of what I get from the oil, but I'd have strap a feedback onto my head and eat it non-stop. Also, I keep my fat intake at about 40 grams a day, that's including the fat from the flax oil...now I'm confused... (Doesn't take much).

I have hypothyroidism as well; but my meds keep that regulated...thyroid issues effect my triglyceride level? I had no idea. And apparently neither does my doctor...ugh.

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#19 Old 03-24-2011, 01:31 PM
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the thing out it is that even grains have SOME fat, and you actually need very little fat. so you don't "need" any supplement at all. if you're eating anything other than home prepared whole foods, you have all sorts of fat in your diet and i'm be willing to bet that at least 30% of your calories come from fat. that's way too much! even the "low fat" products marketed are only "less bad". "extra virgin" olive oil is no better for you than motor oil (well, there's a LITTLE exaggeration there). the point is people want to promote fats as healthy, when there are no healthy fats you need to consume in a concentrated form.

the real challenge isn't knowing what to do from a medical standpoint. it's doing it in a way that fits your lifestye so you can stick with it. you've got to constantly be on guard. fat is shoved at you from all directions. i can't count the number of times someone at work wants to give me a piece of cake, or some other high fat food. it's hard to say no, but if you don't, you'll be right back to eating your health away.

as you switch to this diet, it's perfectly fine to stuff your face (remember, you're not eating these whole foods PLUS high fat snacks, etc. - you are eating only whole foods without oils, nuts, avacodo, coconut etc). you can utterly gorge yourself. what you'll find is your body will soon say "hey, i'm sure processing a lot of fiber - i think i'll eat less", and your hunger will subside. you'll be more easily satisfied. and your triglycerides will plummet.

the real way we age is on a molecular level. it's about the microvessels feeding your organs, etc - not about having a heart attack. think small .
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#20 Old 03-24-2011, 01:33 PM
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yes, and one last word here. you aren't cooking or baking with oils on this diet. no oil for any reason. .
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#21 Old 03-24-2011, 02:53 PM
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I so desperately want my body to cry out "hey I'm full" after a gorging of veggies, but I'm not quite there yet. Not even close, but that sounds like a wonderful goal to strive for.

This info is all so motivating!

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#22 Old 03-24-2011, 03:09 PM
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it won't happen after the first few days. it will happen after a couple of weeks. then you can expect slow, consistant weight loss - as long as you stay on the diet. you do not need to count calories.
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#23 Old 03-24-2011, 06:50 PM
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Thanks papayamon! I'm going to give it a shot.

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#24 Old 03-24-2011, 09:33 PM
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If you like bread why not try gluten free breads and only eat them on occasion? Not gonna lie, I'm addicted to bread but I've been eating a lot more gluten free breads and baking gluten free stuff and they taste just as good as wheat based ones. Have them as a treat don't eat bread everyday (like I do lol).

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