Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Retrospective #452: The most common cause of high triglycerides is…

High blood sugar! “The most common reason for having “high” blood triglycerides (over 199 mg/dL) is blood sugar. If your cells are resistant to insulin, their ability to take up glucose is impaired, and so they turn to fatty acids for fuel. They get these fatty acids from triglycerides, put into circulation by the liver. “If you are a [type 2] diabetic, your diabetes can increase triglycerides significantly, especially when your blood sugar is out of control.”
I found this unattributed 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 I was mentoring who has high triglycerides. Naturally, he was concerned with my suggestion that he self-treat his diabetes with a Very Low Carb, High Fat diet. Unfortunately, the quote is without attribution! 
The goal of a VLCHF diet do 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 visceral or internal, abdominal fat for fuel. 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 have been digested and 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 USE FOR ENERGY. Ergo: You have high glucose, high insulin and high triglyceride levels! They all go together!
Solution: Treat your high blood glucose with a VLCHF diet. This will lower both your blood glucose and your blood insulin. This in turn will allow your body to break down body fat to simple fatty acids for energy, and eliminate the need for your liver to make triglycerides. You won’t be hungry because your body will be well fed with these fatty acids; 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 and circulate triglycerides.
Eating VLCHF will lower your blood triglycerides. But, before testing for triglycerides, be sure not to fast for too long (more than overnight). Prolonged fasting will raise your blood triglycerides temporarily especially if you are already eating VLCHF and are “fat-adapted.” In a prolonged fast you use body fat (fatty acids from triglycerides) for energy.
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. Of course, by then 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 central components 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 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=Saturated) Fat diet will do it. The only question is, do you have 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. Your blood sugar will be low and stable – your doctor will say, “in control” – and the only “side effects” will be lower weight and lower blood pressure, plus fewer expenses for drugs.

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