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General Medical Questions
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Question : I have a triglyceride level of 300 mg/dL. I know a common recommendation is to eat healthier and to add fruit to my diet. Do sugars from fruit have any impact on the triglyceride level?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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January 24, 2011
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A:

Before answering your question, it helps to understand a few basics about triglycerides.

The amount of triglycerides in the bloodstream rises and falls throughout the day. After a rich meal, triglycerides can be so abundant they give blood a milky tint. Within a few hours, they’re mostly cleared out.

That’s why doctors traditionally test for triglycerides after an overnight fast. This way the results aren’t thrown off by what you’ve just eaten.

Normal fasting triglyceride blood level is less than 150 mg/dL. But if your test was done shortly after you had something to eat, a level of 300 mg/dL would not necessarily be bad.

Regarding the influence of sugars from fruit on triglyceride levels, they might raise your triglyceride level a little if you ate a lot of fruit and gained weight.

There are better ways to decrease your triglyceride level than cutting out fruits:

  • Go for good carbs
    Good carbohydrates include whole grain foods. (You want to limit the easily digested carbohydrates that can raise your triglycerides. These include white bread, white rice, corn flakes, and sugared soda.)
  • Beware of alcohol
    Moderate drinking is good for the heart. But in some people, alcohol dramatically boosts triglycerides.
  • Eat more fish
    Omega-3 fats found in salmon, tuna, sardines, and other fatty fish can lower triglycerides.
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    If you are overweight, losing 5% to 10% of your weight can help drive down triglycerides. Losing more is even better.
  • Get more exercise
    Exercise lowers triglycerides. Also, regular exercise can raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
  • Cut back on saturated fat and avoid trans fat
    Saturated fats are found in red meat and full-fat dairy foods. You will need to check food labels to avoid trans fats.

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