Blood sugar! “The most common reason for having high blood triglycerides (over 199 mg/dL) is blood sugar – its availability and handling. If your cells are resistant to insulin, they cannot take up glucose, and so they turn to fatty acids for fuel. They get these fatty acids from triglycerides, put by the liver into circulation. If you are a diabetic, diabetes can increase triglycerides significantly, especially when your blood sugar is out of control.”
I found this quote in a draft Word file while searching for documentation to answer the question, “Will eating a high fat diet raise my triglycerides?” The question was asked by a recently diagnosed, insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic who has high triglycerides and is naturally concerned with the idea of self-treating his diabetes with a Very Low Carb, High Fat (VLCHF) diet. Unfortunately, the quote is without attribution!
The goal of VLCHF is to lower both blood glucose and blood insulin. Lower blood glucose obviously means better diabetes control. Lower blood insulin will make the body more insulin sensitive and thus less insulin resistant. Lower blood insulin will also enable the body to access and use (burn) visceral or internal, abdominal fat. Along with weight loss, it will also help to “clear” a fatty liver and restore pancreatic insulin production.
Think about it. High blood sugar means that the refined carbs and simple sugars in your diet are still circulating in your blood (as glucose)! Because of the insulin resistance you developed from eating this way, glucose is not being taken up by your cells for energy. And you can’t access your body fat for energy because of your high blood insulin levels, so…YOUR LIVER has to step in and make triglycerides to burn for energy. Ergo: You have high glucose, high insulin and high triglyceride levels, and low HDL-C to boot! They all go together!
Solution: Treat your high blood glucose with a VLCHF diet. This will lower your blood glucose and your blood insulin. This in turn will allow your body to access your body fat for energy, and eliminate the need for your liver to make triglycerides for energy. You won’t be hungry because your body will be well fed with body fat; you will improve your insulin sensitivity by secreting less insulin because you’re eating VLC; your pancreas and liver will both do less work. Your liver won’t be forced to make triglycerides to circulate for energy.
Eating VLCHF will lower your blood triglycerides. Just be sure not to fast for too long (more than overnight) before testing for triglycerides. Prolonged fasting, especially if you are already eating VLCHF and are “fat-adapted,” will raise your blood triglycerides temporarily. In a prolonged fast you use body fat (triglycerides) for energy and you lose weight.
I have never had “high” triglycerides. Before starting VLC in 2002, my average triglyceride lab score (11 tests) was 143mg/dl and my HDL-C was a low 39mg/dl. Five years later, after I’d lost 170 pounds eating VLCHF, my average triglycerides from 2007 to 2014 (25 lab tests) was 49mg/dl and my HDL-C 75mg/dl. By then of course my type 2 diabetes was in remission, and with the weight loss my blood pressure was greatly improved. My latest labs (Aug 2018): TG 56mg/dl; HDL-C 92mg/dl; TC 189mg/dl; LDL-C 83mg/dl (Martin/Hopkins calculation).
These results are just mine (N=1), but lab reports like these are widely reported by people who eat VLCHF. I’m confident that if you commit to make this permanent lifestyle change, you will see similar results.
Type 2 diabetes and obesity (aka diabesity) are elements of what is now known as Metabolic Syndrome. Look it up. It is the result of the way we have been told to eat. It is called the Standard American Diet, or SAD, appropriately. To reverse your Metabolic Syndrome, get control of type 2 diabetes, lose weight and lower your triglycerides, you need only to change what you eat. A Very Low Carb High (Healthy) Fat diet will do it. Do you have the gumption or the guts to try it? If you do, and you stick with it, you won’t be disappointed.Remember, lower blood glucose, lower blood insulin and lower triglycerides (plus higher HDL-C) go hand-in-hand. And the only “side effects” are lower weight and lower blood pressure (and fewer expenses for drugs).