My triglycerides were the highest the doctor ever had seen and my cholesterol was at 308.


I went in for a physical recently and was informed that my triglycerides were the highest the doctor had ever seen (875) and my cholesterol was at 308. All other aspects of the physical went well. I went again today for another blood lab after fasting from the evening the night before.

I am 32 years, 5’11”, weighing 186# and am fairly active. I haven’t been drinking at all due to illness (bronchitis) and also as a result of my efforts to quit smoking (1 week and 1 day today). I don’t drink much soda at all and when I do it is “diet”. I do tend to eat a lot of hard candies (a function of my efforts to quit smoking). I eat a lot of red meat and chicken, fried foods and eat little to no vegetables or fruit. I don’t like most vegetables.

I have a wonderful family and want to see my children grow up. What can I do to get myself back in a healthy condition? Thanks for your help.

Ask your doctor what your blood sugar was. Often a very high triglyceride level like yours can be caused by undiagnosed diabetes. Depending on when you had your blood sugar tested (fasting versus after a meal) may affect whether or not any abnormal blood sugar level showed up, especially if you have a minor abnormal glucose tolerance.

Eliminate all simple sugars including the hard candy and alcohol to reduce triglycerides. Switch to a sugar-free hard candy. Some contain sorbitol or mannitol, which can cause gas or diarrhea if eaten to excess. It may take 4 weeks or more to get down to normal levels after abstaining from these foods.

Your cholesterol is way too high as well. Your cholesterol should be below 200. Cholesterol doesn’t respond as quickly as triglycerides to diet or lifestyle changes. Being active is not the same as getting regular exercise that elevates your heart rate for 30 minutes 5 times per week. Start a regular exercise program.

Did your doctor do HDL, LDL and VLDL levels? Would bet your LDL (cholesterol) and VLDL (triglycerides) levels are elevated.

Your body weight is in a healthy range as is your BMI (body mass index). Congrats on quitting smoking. It is the best thing you could do for your family’s health and yours.

Now, with regards to your food choices. Why don’t you eat fruit and vegetables? No time, habit or taste? Does the cook in your house like to prepare vegetables and fruits with meals? Your children learn by your example and will probably not like fruits or vegetables either. It’s called modeling food behaviors. If you don’t like cooked vegetables, try eating raw or juiced veggies. If you don’t like fruit, try drinking real juice, not the fruit drinks that are mostly sugar and water. You should aim to eat 5 fruits and vegetables per day. Eating a lot of meat and no vegetables or fruits will cause you more than elevated fats in your blood. Studies show that people who don’t eat fruits and vegetables also have an increased risk of cancer. How’s that for a motivator?

Your meat should be limited to 3 ounces twice per day and you should change to eating broiled or roasted poultry or fish rather than fried meats.

Also, try out the Healthy Body Calculator. If you put in your height, weight and nutrition goals (i.e. control fat grams to < 30% of calories), it will calculate how many grams of fat you should eat based on your weight goal (i.e. maintain weight). If your weight changes, come back and re-enter your data to get a new calculation based on a different weight.

I would suggest you talk to a Registered Dietitian who could assist with some diet changes and meal plans. There is probably one available in your doctor’s medical clinic or local hospital.