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How Long Does It Take to Reduce Triglycerides?

author image Kathryn Gilhuly
Kathryn Gilhuly is a wellness coach based in San Diego. She helps doctors, nurses and other professionals implement lifestyle changes that focus on a healthy diet and exercise. Gilhuly holds a Master of Science in health, nutrition and exercise from North Dakota State University.
How Long Does It Take to Reduce Triglycerides?
Apples make a good fruit choice on a diet to lower your triglyceride levels.

Fat in equals fat in--that is, triglycerides in your diet end up as triglycerides in your body. To lower triglycerides, eat less fatty foods and fewer foods and drinks--particularly sugar and refined carbohydrates--that convert easily to triglycerides in your bloodstream. The length of time it takes to lower your triglycerides depends on your willingness to change your diet and lifestyle.

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Triglycerides and Diet

Your triglyceride levels react quickly to fat and sugar in your diet. Eliminate both from your diet and your triglyceride levels could drop within a day--and jump up again the first time you add a doughnut to your diet. To permanently lower your triglycerides, take a long-term approach. Follow a consistent low-sugar, low-fat diet. An occasional piece of cake won’t hurt you and temporary restrictions won’t help you. But you can lower your triglycerides by 50 percent through diet and exercise, according to the American Heart Association.

American Heart Association Guidelines

The AHA recommends a diet that limits saturated fat to 16 g a day and trans fat to 2 g a day. Obtain no more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your daily calories from sugar-added foods. Enjoy fruit, but keep overall fructose consumption to 50 g to 100 g daily. Drink no more than one or two alcoholic beverages daily, and exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.

Fat and Sugar

Animal products and tropical oils contain saturated fat. Margarine and shortening contain trans fat, and you may find one or both in fried foods, frozen waffles and potatoes as well as in commercial baked goods and snacks. A 12 oz. can of regular cola contains nearly 140 calories and 33 g of sugar. The AHA recommends you drink no more than 36 oz. of sweetened soda per week. You can eat fruits such as cantaloupe, apples, strawberries and grapefruit without concern about fructose intake. But moderate your intake of dried fruits, high-sugar fruits such as watermelon and processed foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.

Menu Suggestions

To conform to the AHA guidelines, choose lean sources of protein and cook with olive oil. Eat whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates and include either fruits or vegetables at every meal. Drink nonfat milk and limit the amount of cheese in your diet. For breakfast, try whole-grain French toast topped with cooked, unsweetened apples and cinnamon. For lunch, have a bowl of bean soup and a salad of mixed greens with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli makes a good dinner choice.

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