Dr. Michael Lee graduated from Stanford University with honors and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1996. Dr. Lee completed his internal medicine residency at Mount Auburn Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital.

What is a Triglyceride and Why Should I Care?

Everyone knows what fat is.
crispy_bacon_1

If you were to look at fat under a microscope, you would see that it’s made of fat cells.
fat_cell_1

Just like the cream filling inside a cream puff, Triglycerides are the fat filling inside fat cells.
fat-cell1
So, when you eat a slice of bacon, you are eating fat cells filled with Triglycerides.

There are two other important sources of Triglycerides–
Carbohydrates and Alcohol.

carbohydrate-food-shot-350
Carbohydrates are broken down into the simple sugar, glucose. Whatever you don’t need immediately for energy is converted into Triglycerides and stored in your fat cells.

alcohol
Similarly, Alcohol is also converted in Triglycerides.

What should my Triglyceride level be and what is too high?
Normal levels are less than 150. Levels 200 and higher cause narrowing of the arteries which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
narrowing-of-the-artery

What can I do to lower my Triglyceride level?
– Reduce your portions of baked goods, white rice, pasta, potatoes by 1/3 of what you’re currently eating.
– Substitute white bread with whole wheat bread and white rice with brown rice.
– Substitute regular soda with diet soda and sugar with Splenda or Equal.
– Cut off the fat from meats.
– Substitute Mayo/Big Mac Special Sauce/In-N-Out Spread with mustard.
– Men should restrict Alcohol to 2 drinks daily and women 1 drink daily.
– Exercise 20 mins 3 to 5 times weekly. Try using the stairs.
– Quit smoking or substitute cigarettes with nicotine lozenges, gum or patch.
– See the post Calorie Trackers for Weight Loss
– Your doctor may also prescribe medication.

8 Comments »

  1. Steve Heller Said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

    Thank you, Dr. Lee.

  2. david hall Said,

    May 31, 2009 @ 8:08 am

    dr lee i saw your website it is very good

  3. Gleda Spaeth Said,

    June 1, 2009 @ 12:19 pm

    Dr Lee I realy find your site very easy to understand. Also a lot of very good infromation. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
    Thank You
    Gleda

  4. drmikelee Said,

    June 2, 2009 @ 1:30 am

    Thanks everyone for your feedback. I’m happy to know that people find this helpful.

  5. Jessica Fechtenburg Said,

    June 27, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

    Great info on Triglycerides & how to lower my levels. I really did’t know how much carbs were a factor when trying to lower Triglycerides.

    Thank so much Dr. Lee for sharing the knowledge. I look forward to seeing more subjects in the future

    My kindest regards, Jess

  6. Triglycerides too high Said,

    July 27, 2009 @ 3:03 am

    Quite an interesting blog on triglycerides, indeed. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Angel Castillo Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    Thank you Dr. Michael Lee!!!
    my father has high triglyceride, he didnt know what was it, i didnt eaihter but thanks to you i explained everything to him!!

    THANK YOU very much im going to help my father to better himself thanxx to you!!

  8. drmikelee Said,

    November 20, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    There has been an update to treat triglycerides less than 500 with diet and weight loss and only to use medication for triglycerides more than 500 or approaching 1000.

    December 2013
    Continue to use a statin first if triglycerides are less than 500 mg/dL…and patients need one anyway to lower LDL and CV risk. Statins can reduce triglycerides by up to 30%…and the higher the triglyceride level, the bigger the reduction.
    Emphasize other strategies to lower triglycerides such as weight loss…exercise…limiting simple sugars and alcohol…eliminating trans fats…and improving glycemic control in diabetes patients.
    Also look for meds that may increase triglycerides…oral estrogens, glucocorticoids, bile acid sequestrants, retinoic acid, etc.
    Save omega-3 fatty acids (Vascepa, Lovaza, fish oil supplements), fibrates, or niacin for patients with triglycerides over 500 mg/dL…or even approaching 1000 mg/dL.
    Keep in mind there’s no good evidence yet that using these drugs to lower triglycerides reduces CV events…or prevents pancreatitis.

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