Lifestyle Changes Can Slash Blood Fat Levels, Experts
MONDAY, April 18 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy lifestyle changes
can significantly lower elevated levels of triglycerides, a type of
blood fat associated with heart disease and other health problems,
says an American Heart Association scientific statement released
About one-third (31 percent) of adults in the United States have
elevated triglyceride levels, defined as more than 150 milligrams
per deciliter (mg/dL).
These levels can be lowered 20 percent to 50 percent by
replacing unhealthy saturated fats with healthy unsaturated dietary
fats, being physically active and losing excess weight, according
to the statement authors, who analyzed more than 500 international
studies from the past 30 years.
"The good news is that high triglycerides can, in large part, be reduced through major lifestyle changes," statement committee chair Dr. Michael Miller, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in an AHA news release.
Clinically, the new guidelines recommend lowering optimal
triglyceride levels to less than 100 mg/dL and using non-fasting
triglyceride testing as an initial screen.
"In contrast to cholesterol, where lifestyle measures are important but may not be the solution, high triglycerides are often quite responsive to lifestyle measures that include weight loss if overweight, changes in diet and regular physical activity," said Miller, who is also a professor of medicine in epidemiology and public health at the university.
The statement outlines recommended dietary changes for people
with high triglyceride levels. These include limiting:
- added sugar to less than 5 to 10 percent of calories consumed,
or about 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories for
- trans fat to less than 1 percent of total calories
- fructose from both processed and natural foods to less than 50
to 100 grams per day
Figuring out the amount of added sugar in foods is tricky
because it is not listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel of packaged
foods. Noting that Americans obtain most of their added sugar in
soda and other sweetened beverages, the American Heart Association
recommends drinking no more than 36 ounces of sugar-sweetened
beverages a week.
A healthy diet for people with high triglycerides should include
more vegetables; lower-fructose fruits, such as cantaloupe,
grapefruit, strawberries, peaches and bananas; whole-grains; and
healthier unsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in
Adults with elevated triglyceride levels should do
moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) for at
least 150 minutes per week.
The statement is published April 18 in the journal
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