Triglycerides:  Circulating Fats

Fats By Another Name

Triglycerides are the name given to fats made by the body from the fat in food (and sometimes from sugars.  Triglycerides are carried in the blood and stored in the body as fatty tissue.  Some triglycerides also are made in the liver.


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Fat in Foods >> Triglycerides in Blood >>   Fat Tissue

Triglycerides and cholesterol are not the same.  Triglycerides are fats, cholesterol is not a fat, only a fat-like substance insoluble in water.  Both are part of the "lipids" carried in the blood.

Triglycerides are the fats carried in the blood.  Cholesterol is transported in the blood, associated with proteins in lipoproteins.  Contrary to cholesterol, triglycerides have to be measured in a fasting state.  They are expressed, like cholesterol, in mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).


Triglycerides and Heart Disease

If fat is cleared from the blood too slowly or when the liver produces more fat than the body can handle, the level of blood triglycerides rises.  Sugar and some carbohydrates also can raise certain triglyceride-rich particles, but usually only on a short-term basis.  "Hypertriglyceridemia" refers to a high blood triglyceride level.  It can be:

  • Genetically caused

  • Secondary to other diseases:  Obesity, Diabetes, and Excessive Alcohol Intake


Normal Levels

High blood triglyceride levels may be a risk for heart disease by themselves, even when cholesterol levels are normal.  One reason for this may be thath high triglyceride levels are usually associated with a low level of the "good" cholesterol, HDL.  A low level of HDL is one of the risks for heart disease.  High triglyceride levels also make the blood more likely to clot.  A combination of high blood cholesterol and high triglycerides definitely is a risk for heart disease.  Side effects of high triglyceride levels are enlargement of the liver and intense pain due to pancreatitis.

Normal blood triglyceride level are:

190 mg/dl or below for adults-------------------90 mg/dl for children
Even better, a triglyceride level below 150 for adults, according to some experts
Blood triglyceride levels can be very high , in thousands of mg/dl

So what can you do instead of medication to improve your triglyceride levels?

Caution: For very elevated triglyceride levels, your physician may prescribe drug treatment in addition to diet. All drugs have side effects.  Do not use them without a physician's recommendation.

Your triglyceride levels will drop and side effects will
disappear if you:

  • Lose Weight
    Let a diet and nutrition expert, a registered dietitian, create a custom diet plan that helps you to lower triglycerides

  • Avoid Alcohol and Sugars

  • Follow a Very Low Fat Diet with 5-10% of total calories from fat if your triglyceride levels are very high.


  • Get expert diet help to lower & improve your high triglyceride levels,
    Lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, lose weight or a combination of each. 
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