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High Triglycerides level - how can I lower it?

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Hi all,


I've completed 2 whole 30's in the last 5 months (my last whole 30 lasted closer to 60 days) and have been keeping relatively on track between whole 30's - except for a few conscious treats on holiday. Today I had a health assessment, and the overall result is that I'm very healthy (I imagine mostly thanks to the whole 30's I've been doing) and there are no concerns. However, one result was outside the normal range, and I would like to find out more about this.


My triglycerides level was 3.6 mmol/L, and I'm told that less than or equal to 2 is normal. All my other bloods came back 'good' or 'excellent' including my cholesterol - you can see the full results below. I have the following questions and wonder if anyone can help me answer them:


  • What contributes to a high triglyceride level (in complete isolation, as all my other results were normal)? There was a small section on this in 'It starts with food' but I'd like to find out more.
  • How can I lower my triglyceride level?
  • What have I been doing wrong to reach such a high triglyceride level?
  • Should I be worried about this? (I am worried, even though I know that I probably shouldn't be).


My full blood results are:


HbA1C - 29 mmol/mol

Haemoglobin - 141 g/L

Total cholesterol - 4.67 mmol/L

LDL cholesterol - 2.94 mmol/L

HDL cholesterol - 1.3 mmol/L

Total/HDL ratio - 3.6 Ratio

Triglycerides - 3.6 mmol/L


Thanks, in advance, for any help you can give.


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Triglycerides are the part of blood work that I consider seriously meaningful. Most of the time, triglycerides are responsive to eating Whole30-style. Mine dropped quickly when I started. 


Conventional medical advice warns you to avoid saturated fats to lower triglycerides, but our experience with the Whole30 shows that is not true. Otherwise, the basic advice is good. 1. Lose weight, 2. Cut sugar, 3. Eat more veggies, 4. Limit fructose, 5. Add omega-3 fatty acids, 6. Exercise, 7. Limit alcohol. 


How have you been doing with regard to these recommendations?

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Hi Tom, thanks for your response.

Some details on those seven areas of advice: 1. I've lost roughly 10kgs since starting my whole 30 journey (over 5 months) and my current body fat percentage is 23%, which I am told is on the lower end of healthy. 2. I hardly ever eat added sugar any longer, even between whole 30s, I check all ingredients before buying food. 3. I eat a wide variety of veg, but confess to loving carb dense veg more than other types - I eat about 5 sweet potatoes a week and sometimes a whole butternut squash too. 4. I hardly ever eat fruit as I'm not a big fan, so fructose intake I assume is low. 5. I believe I get a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids - I eat salmon or mackerel once a week, sometimes more. I don't take any supplements so I'm unsure if this is a healthy amount? 6. On average, I exercise 4 times a week or more - a mix of cardio and weight lifting. 7. I hardly ever drink alcohol, I would estimate that I have a moderate amount of alcohol once every 2 months.

Based on the above, I can't see any reason why I have high triglyceride levels - does this give you any clues?

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I believe I get a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids - I eat salmon or mackerel once a week, sometimes more. I don't take any supplements so I'm unsure if this is a healthy amount? 

My husband's triglycerides were quite high several years ago, and his doctor recommended 3000 mgs of fish oil daily.  He took those, and within three months they were down, after a year they were back to acceptable levels.  

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  • 4 months later...

Hi All,


Re-invigorating this topic. I had my annual exam today, in which we reviewed my blood work from a few days ago. Everything looked great except my cholesterol and triglycerides, and I am looking for some advice. My doctor was not alarmed, however wants to retest in 6 months. I am a little concerned as there is not great heart health history on my dad's side of the family. Here is the important information:


- I am 27 and always had good health

- I recently completed a Whole30, and did not lose any weight - I did not need to

- Total chol: 364

- HDL: 83

- LDL: 236

- Triglycerides: 223


I have been sticking to Whole30 95% of the time, as I feel better eating this way, and have only added things back in on super special occasions. I would really like to be able to fix these numbers while maintaining this lifestyle and am willing to try all suggestions. Tom, in response to your above questions:


1. Lose weight - did not need to, I am already at the lower end of normal

2. Cut sugar - have pretty much cut it out since starting Whole30 in March

3. Eat more veggies - of course I eat tons, especially leafy greens like kale, swiss chard

4. Limit fructose - I eat 1 piece of fruit a day

5. Add omega-3 fatty acids - not sure on this one, what are good sources of omega-3s?

6. Exercise - I walk at least 15,000 steps a day, and do more vigorous work 1-2 times a week

7. Limit alcohol - almost never and when I do, one glass of wine


Thanks for the suggestions!

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