Triglycerides - Good and Bad

Triglycerides - Good and Bad
Triglycerides are the most common fats found in the bloodstream. It might surprise you to find out that they're essential to good health. But, like many other good things, too much can be a problem.

Triglycerides make up 95% of the fat stored in your body. Calories consumed and not used for energy are converted into triglycerides and stored in the body's fat cells. They help keep you warm, protect you from bruising and provide a reserve of future energy. However, excess triglycerides have been found to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and many other conditions associated with being overweight.

In fact, some scientists believe that high triglyceride levels are as great a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) as high cholesterol. They point out that the dramatic increased American intake of high glycemic carbohydrates, high trans-fatty acids and high saturated fat consumption over the past hundred years correlates directly with the dramatic increase of CVD.

Triglyceride levels are measured by a blood test taken after a twelve hour food and alcohol fast. The American Heart Association recommends the following guidelines:
  • Normal - less than 150mg/dl

  • Borderline-high - 150 -199 mg/dl

  • High - 200 - 499 mg/dl

  • Very high - 500 mg/dl or higher
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