We're looking for great new physicians to join our team. Click here to learn more.

How to Improve Your Lab Results: Triglycerides and Glucose

Lifestyle & Wellness | Facebook Live Recap | School of Metabolic Health | School of Muscular Health | Wellness

Many people have questions about how to bring triglycerides and glucose numbers down. What should they be at? How can you improve them? Let's dive in. 

What are triglycerides and glucose?

When you get your triglycerides and glucose tested, your triglycerides are going to be done in a lipid panel. A lipid panel measures the fats in your blood, triglycerides, cholesterol, LDL, HDL, etc. When you get those numbers back, you want your triglycerides at 150 or less.

Now going on to glucose, glucose measurements are done through what's called CMP or a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. And that tests a lot of things, like electrolyte level, glucose, liver and kidney function, etc. Now, if you're doing those fasting, you want your glucose levels at around 100. And if they're non-fasting, you want it around 140 or less.

How to improve triglycerides and glucose through nutrition

You get your labs back. Your numbers are maybe not so great. What can you do about it?
Nutritionally, you can eat fewer carbs and sugars.

I'm not just talking about cutting back on the cookies and the soda and the desserts. Even things like excess carbs in the form of pasta, potatoes, and rice can elevate those triglyceride levels and glucose levels.

Also, alcohol is a big thing when it comes to these triglycerides. Alcohol is an interesting macronutrient. It has seven calories per gram, which is more than protein and carbs, and less than fat. Fat has nine calories per gram. Carbs and protein have four calories per gram.

When you intake alcohol, it is processed before anything else. So, if you have a night of drinking and eating, that alcohol is going to be processed before any of your other foods. Just decreasing alcohol intake can help.

And then, if we think about it, we're taking out some carbs and some sugar and some alcohol. What can we replace these things with to help improve our levels?

One suggestion is healthy fats. These are poly and monounsaturated fats, and you can get them from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds. You want to stay away from things like processed meats, like lunch meat, bacon, or sausage.

Next, you definitely want fiber. Most Americans don't get near as much fiber as they should. We should be eating between 25 and 30 grams a day, but most Americans get far less than that. I actually measured my fiber the other day. and I was only getting seven a day. And I tend to think I eat healthily, but I have to bump that up.

Something that I found is an easy, quick fix for fiber is adding chia seeds to my normal breakfast smoothies. They're packed with fiber. Any fruits and vegetables are also going to usually be high in fiber. It's a good excuse to incorporate a bunch of new veggies and fruits into your diet to try to increase your fiber intake.

How to improve triglycerides and glucose through exercise

And then you can exercise. Exercise is so, so, so beneficial. Even if you're really busy, you're not a morning person, you're not an evening person, you're not a workout at lunch person, just a dedicated 10 to 20 minutes of exercise a day can make a huge difference in your lab levels.

Weight loss can also help. If you lose any sort of body fat mass or fat pounds, make sure it's coming from the right place. We want weight loss from fat and not muscle. But as long as you're losing fat, most levels increase in a good way. They improve.

You can do that by incorporating some of the things I talked about, lowering your carb intake and alcohol intake, replacing those with healthy nutrient-dense veggies and fruit, and then get your exercise in every day. Get your protein in. Get your veggies and fruits. Get your exercise in. And your lab results will improve as well.


Access Wellness University & Certified Health Coaches

PartnerMD memberships include access to our members-only wellness program, Wellness University, which delivers more than 70 physician-approved courses and certified health coaching targeting the 4 areas most critical to your health, including stress and sleep, brain health, nutrition, and strength and mobility.

With offices in Richmond, VA; Midlothian, VA; Short Pump, VA; McLean, VA; Baltimore, MD; Greenville, SC; and Atlanta, GA, you can experience primary care built around you, one focused on wellness and prevention to help you stay as healthy as possible, as long as possible. Learn more about health coaching at PartnerMD