What Foods Cause High Triglycerides?

Achieving optimal heart health isn't something that happens overnight; it's a journey that requires hard work, dedication, and patience. A big part of the journey is understanding triglycerides and how they play a role in a variety of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. 

Roughly one out of every four Americans deals with high triglycerides (known medically as hypertriglyceridemia). With those numbers rising around the globe, it's crucial to know how to manage this condition.

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood that your body uses for energy. It gets stored in fat cells and is released by the pancreas when you need some extra fuel between meals.

Different types of lipoproteins, like HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein), move triglycerides through your bloodstream. It's kind of like how a train carries people from one place to another. Knowing how this works can help you make better choices for your heart.

Why Is Monitoring Triglyceride Levels Important?

Checking your blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels regularly is like getting your car's oil checked. It's a must-do, as even borderline-high triglyceride levels are connected to some serious health problems

Along with the ones we mentioned earlier, triglycerides are also associated with pancreatitis and metabolic syndrome, which further increases the risk of heart disease.

High triglycerides can also lead to atherosclerosis, which is when fatty deposits build up in your arteries, or even cardiovascular disease, which affects your heart and blood vessels. Needless to say, undergoing the occasional blood test is well worth it to avoid these issues. 

We at Carda Health get how vital it is to be proactive in managing these levels. We're here to guide and support you by working with other healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care. 

What Foods Are Known To Elevate Triglyceride Levels?

So, you want to keep your heart happy? Let's look at some foods that are known risk factors for elevated triglyceride levels.

Saturated Fats

We're talking butter, cream, cheese, beef, lamb, pork — you get the idea. These foods can mess with your cholesterol and triglycerides. Also, be mindful of MCT oils (a popular supplement these days), as they’re still saturated fats, and eating too many can be bad for you.

Trans Fats

Ever wonder what makes those fried foods like french fries and doughnuts taste so good but feel so bad? Trans fats are usually the culprits, lurking in processed products like margarine and partially hydrogenated oils. These artificial fats may extend the shelf life of foods, but they are no friends to your heart, especially when consumed in excess.

Simple Carbohydrates

White bread, pasta, pastries, fruit juice, soda, and other sugary drinks are like quick sugar bombs for your body. They can lead to spikes in fat storage, sending those triglyceride levels through the roof. It's a fast-track conversion into sugar in your body, causing insulin spikes and even contributing to weight gain. 

Don't forget to monitor your serving sizes. It’s generally wise to follow expert advice and guidelines from dietitians and heart specialists like those from the American Heart Association and avoid certain cooking oils and processed junk.

How Does Lifestyle Impact Triglyceride Levels?

Your lifestyle choices can really affect your triglyceride levels. For example: 

Physical Activity

Time to lace up those sneakers! Regular exercise, particularly under the guidance of Carda's clinical exercise physiologists, can help you manage those triglyceride levels effectively. Be it a brisk walk, a light jog, or engaging in lively fitness activities, consistent movement is one joyful way to keep excess fats at bay.

High Blood Sugar/Type 2 Diabetes

If your glucose levels are all over the place, your triglycerides might be too. Keeping that sugar level steady is a must. Proper diet management, monitoring your sugar intake, and following prescribed medications can make all the difference here.

Cholesterol Levels

HDL and LDL cholesterol are closely linked to triglycerides. HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol, and having low HDL levels can increase your risk of having high levels of triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol, so you want to keep these levels in check and achieve balance.

Stress, Alcohol Consumption, and Smoking

They might feel good temporarily, but chronic stress, too much booze, and smoking can play havoc with your triglyceride levels. Finding healthy ways to unwind, cutting back on drinking, or seeking professional help to quit smoking can significantly contribute to controlling these factors.

Carda's virtual cardiac rehab program is here to help with all this, giving you the right exercises, personalized plans, and know-how to make lasting improvements. It's like having a heart health coach right in your living room, providing live support, tracking your progress, and helping you make informed decisions that fit your unique needs. 

How Does Weight Influence Triglyceride Levels?

As you may have guessed, weight and obesity are closely tied to high triglyceride levels. When you carry extra weight, especially around your belly, your body pumps out more triglycerides. It’s a bit complicated, as it involves factors such as insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, but let’s just say that weight loss isn't just about looking good — it's also a big step toward heart health. 

How Can You Lower Your Triglyceride Levels?

Ready to take on those triglycerides? Here's a breakdown that's easy to follow.

Dietary Changes

First, you may want to think about adding some heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids to your plate. You can find them in abundance in fatty fish, like mackerel and sardines, or in flaxseeds, walnuts, and spinach. Whole grains and olive oil can also be beneficial for your heart. Lastly, make sure to skip sugary cereal and opt for low-fat dairy products. 

Of course, sometimes it's not just what you eat but how much. Portion control is a key element of healthy eating and can be a game-changer for your heart.

Supplements and Medications

It doesn't hurt to chat with your healthcare provider about natural supplements like fish oil or niacin. Paired with the right food choices, these can give your triglyceride levels a nice nudge in the right direction. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a prescription medication to help get your triglyceride levels balanced.


Get moving! Whether it's a stroll around the block or pumping some iron, exercise can help lower those triglycerides while shedding some extra weight. 

The Bottom Line

High triglycerides can often build up over time, leading to serious heart conditions and health concerns. However, by exercising, adjusting your diet, and addressing sources of stress, you can support healthy triglyceride levels.

If you need help getting started, consider Carda Health. Our virtual cardiac rehab solutions involve regular blood pressure monitoring, pulse checks, physical therapy, and lessons on nutrition and relaxation. 

Reach out to Carda Health today to get started. With personalized care packages, we'll cheer you on toward wellness, making each step a celebration.


Prevalence of US Adults with Triglycerides ≥ 150 mg/dl: NHANES 2007–2014 | PMC

Understanding Triglycerides | Harvard Health

LDL and HDL Cholesterol and Triglycerides | CDC

High Blood Triglycerides | NIH

Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia) | American Heart Association

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