My doctor says I have high triglycerides. He told me to cut out booze and sweets.

My doctor says I have high triglycerides. He told me to cut out booze and sweets. Can you explain it to me?

Triglycerides are a fat found in your blood. It is a fat similar to cholesterol. A diet to lower cholesterol limits egg yolks and fatty meats. A diet to lower triglycerides omits alcohol and sugar.

Alcohol is absorbed through the lining of the stomach. It shuts off your liver from releasing sugar into your bloodstream. Since sugar is your main fuel, the body must turn to the next readily available fuel, blood fats. However, the calories from alcohol are turned into fat, so the fat levels in your blood go up.

Simple sugars like sugar, candy, pop, and desserts seem to be the most readily available in stimulating triglyceride production. Complex carbohydrates like starch and cereal grains seem to have a lowering effect on triglycerides.

A normal blood triglyceride level is 40 to 150 milligrams. Persons with higher values are put on a sugar-free, alcohol-free diet. A significant drop in your triglyceride level to near normal should occur within three to six weeks if you strictly follow your diet. Your doctor may also advise you to cut down on fats and cholesterol and to lower weight if your cholesterol is also high.

After your triglyceride level goes back to normal, you may be able to ease up a bit and have one sweet and up to two cocktails per week. You will have to follow a modified sugar and alcohol diet for the rest of your life, however.

An elevated triglyceride level is considered to significantly increase heart disease even though you don’t find triglycerides plugging up your arteries. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.