Foods Causing High Triglyceride Levels

Many foods associated with classic warnings about high cholesterol, like red meats and full-fat dairy products, can elevate triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are fats that take the same form in the body whether they are synthesized by the liver or derived from food sources, states the American Heart Association. Avoiding foods that trigger the liver to produce fat or increase the blood's lipid content may lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke or metabolic syndrome, according to


Red Meats

Many red meats are high in saturated fats. Solid at room temperature, saturated fats contribute to hardened arteries and heart disease when they circulate in the blood at high levels. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fats to less than 7 percent of total daily calories. Skinless poultry, fish and tofu are healthy alternatives to red meats like beef and pork, providing protein without the saturated fat content.

Full-Fat Dairy Products

Whole milk, half-and-half, sour cream and other dairy products have a high concentration of saturated fat, which increases the lipid content in the blood. Substituting low-fat or non-fat versions of these products will cut saturated fat and calories. Plain, non-fat yogurt can replace sour cream in recipes or as a topping.


Because the body stores excess sugar in the form of fat, cutting back on all forms of sugar will help to control triglyceride levels. Limiting fructose may be especially important. A 2010 study at Princeton University demonstrated that fructose stimulates fat synthesis in the liver, contributing to abnormally high triglyceride levels in lab animals. Many commercially produced foods and beverages contain high fructose corn syrup as a first or second ingredient. Choosing whole foods and unsweetened drinks over processed foods and beverages may lower triglycerides.

Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are rich in protein, vitamin B12 and phosphorous, and each yolk contains 1.6 grams of saturated fat. Separating yolks from the whites and discarding a portion of the yolk before cooking will cut down on the saturated fat content of recipes that require eggs.

Commercial Baked Products

Like sugar, refined white flour is broken down quickly in the digestive system and transformed into glucose, which the liver converts into fat. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding commercially produced baked goods, like bread, muffins, cookies and snack cakes. These products contain sugar, flour and trans fats, a combination of animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats not only raise triglyceride levels, but lower the blood plasma level of HDL, the high-density lipoprotein known as "good cholesterol," reports the American Heart Association.

Fried or Breaded Foods

Most fried or breaded foods, as well as snack foods like potato chips, are prepared with hydrogenated vegetable oil or some other form of trans fat. The American Heart Association states that trans fats should make up no more than 1 percent of daily caloric intake. Grilled, baked or steamed foods have a lower fat content and retain more nutritional value during preparation.


Alcohol may elevate triglyceride levels due to its high sugar content. Although consuming one to two drinks daily may lower cholesterol, alcohol triggers high triglycerides in some individuals. Testing cholesterol levels after three weeks of avoiding alcohol can determine whether alcohol has an impact on a person's triglyceride levels, states the "Harvard Heart Letter."


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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or