Manage Cholesterol at the Gym

Triglycerides should be lowered to meet new guidelines through weight loss and exercise

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Earlier this year, the optimum level for triglycerides was lowered from 150 mg/dL to 100 mg/dL. But doctors aren't suggesting drugs as the main tool to lower them. Instead they're suggesting lifestyle changes are in order.

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that can cause an increased risk of heart disease if they are too high. They are checked through a blood test used to measure cholesterol.

"Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet."

Dr. Michael Miller from the University of Maryland and lead author of the paper wrote that from a clinical perspective, drugs shouldn't be a first choice. Instead weight loss, dietary changes and regular exercise are most important in achieving healthy triglyceride levels.

This is because obesity is a key contributor to high triglycerides, especially when it comes to an accumulation of  fat around abdominal organs. Previous research suggests that for every 2.2 pounds of weight loss, there is a 1.9 percent reduction in triglycerides, or a drop of 1.5 mg/dL.

Dr. Miller wrote that dietary changes including eating fewer simple carbohydrates such as cake and soda, increasing dietary fiber and cutting back on fructose, found in sugary foods such as syrup and fruit juice, can result in lowering triglycerides by 20 percent to 50 percent.

He emphasized in the paper that the guidelines do not recommend drugs to reach the optimal triglyceride levels except in the cases of patients with high triglyceride levels above 500 mg/dL.

Dr. Miller is calling for additional studies to clarify the role of triglyceride-lowering treatment in reducing cardiovascular risk, especially in the borderline-high and higher range, between 200 and 500 mg/dL.

The article was published in the November issue of Clinical Nutrition Insight.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 31, 2011
Last Updated:
November 3, 2011