A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.
High Triglycerides (TGs)
The fatty tissue in the human body stores a group of specific fatty compounds called triglycerides (TGs) - these compounds circulates in the bloodstream of human beings. An increased risk of heart disease is connected to elevated levels of these TGs in the blood of an individual; this condition is otherwise known as hypertriglyceridemia, the condition thus brings about a greater susceptibility to heart disease. Individuals afflicted with metabolic disorders like diabetes are often found to have elevated levels of TGs in the blood stream. The normalization of this elevation of the triglycerides is often accomplished by a successful control of the diabetes in the body of the person.
Fatty deposits in the skin called xanthomas, the enlargement of the spleen and the liver tissues and conditions such as pancreatitis often develop in individuals suffering from elevated levels of triglycerides in the circulating blood. The appearance of symptoms caused by high triglyceride levels in the body is possible only when other conditions such as heart disease or disorders of the blood vessels develop, these symptoms will not appear if these related conditions do not otherwise exist in the body of the affected individual.
The reduction of these high triglyceride levels in the body can only be carried out when the affected individual limits his or her consumption of all kinds of processed foods, all the simple sugars, drinks that contain alcohol, and all forms of saturated fats - such patients also need to reduce their body weight to rid themselves of the excess fatty tissue deposits. Triglycerides are found abundantly in various foods that contain animal products, these items include foods such as eggs, meat, and all dairy products -these fats are also abundant in tropical oils used for cooking such as those from the coconut and palm oil.
Some factors depend on the severity of the causative action, thus, high triglyceride levels do not seem to be affected when a person consumes reasonable amounts of alcohol, but on the other hand heavy and prolonged drinking is remains as an important reason of hypertriglyceridemia and can substantially compromise the health of the individual. Therefore to avoid these complications, all alcoholics must be treated for alcoholism first as it is a disease in itself, once this has been done, treatment for hypertriglyceridemia can begin.
TG levels in the blood stream can also rise to extreme levels if large amounts of refined sugars are consumed in the diet. This is the reason that the consumption of sugar containing food items, sweets and all sugar laden products must be avoided by people with elevated TG levels in the blood. The amount of fructose ingested in a characteristic western diet can also raise triglycerides levels to a great extent-however; this has to be borne out by further scientific studies on appropriate subjects. This is because most studies have concentrated on investigating the role of ingested refined fructose and not the natural fructose which is the main sugar found in most fruits and many plant products.
The consumption of high amounts of caffeine in diet is also another factor that can greatly increase the presence of triglycerides in the body, for example some individuals who consume an average of 560 milligrams of caffeine daily from tea and coffee had elevated TG levels according to a study on a group of consumers who drank both tea and coffee. This factor is further proved as accurate to some extent and a statistically significant reduction of up to 25% of the TG level was observed when such individuals changed to decaffeinated coffee and eliminated all other products with caffeine for a period lasting two weeks during the study.
While clinical trials have not substantiated these results, it has been suggested that high TG levels can be reduced by the consumption of high fiber diets. In this regard, the levels of triglycerides in the body can be effectively lowered by the consumption of certain water-soluble fibers; these include substances such as pectin found abundantly in fruit, in guar gum and in other gums observed in beans, and substances like beta-glucan found in grains like oats.
The level of triglycerides in the body was also significantly reduced in the body of patients through the consumption of a low-fat diet that was also high in carbohydrates. This result is not substantiated by the results of another research that shows that many populations consuming a diet that was low-fat and high in carbohydrates possessed significantly higher levels of TGs, when they were compared to other populations which normally consumed a diet low in carbohydrates. The trick is in a gradual shift to a diet low in fat, as many times an abrupt switch to a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat leads to a temporary increase in the level of TGs within the body - however, this complication can be avoided by a gradual change of the diet.
The likelihood of coronary heart disease in individuals with high levels of triglycerides in the blood can be observed much better after a meal than when the individual is fasting. This result was not observed in a group of patients with hypertriglyceridemia, even when they were given a low-fat diet, that was broken down into 55% carbohydrates content, 23% fat content and 22% content of proteins, this diet failed to normalize the post-meal triglycerides levels in this particular group during the study, this is in stark contrast to such a diet brining down lipid levels in other normal people even during a fasting level. Thus from these results it can be gleaned that the dietary reduction of TG levels, may not be sufficient to offset the probability of coronary heart disease occurring nor would it be able to give optimal protection, this is despite the presence of diet controls on other blood lipids. Therefore the reduction of the level of triglycerides in the blood and the avoidance of the risk of heart disease is sought to be achieved by the intake of a low saturated fat diet, these fats are rich in red meats and all dairy products except non-fat dairy - most dieticians and many doctors recommend this form of dietary restrictions for their patients.
The reduction of heart disease is also associated by some studies to increasing eating of fish, though this is not borne out by all researches in this direction. This can be seen in the fact that the consumption of food fishes such as black cod, albacore tuna, anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon led to a major amounts of reduction in the level of triglycerides in the body, this is because such fish meat is rich in a triglycerides-lowering EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids). The consumption of the meat of these fishes is thus the main dietary recommendation of many doctors to their patients who suffer from high triglycerides levels in the blood.
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