Resolving hypertriglyceridemia via low carb and fasting


As much as we love hearing low-carb success stories surrounding weight loss at Diet Doctor, we are also encouraged whenever new evidence suggests other potential health benefits of restricting dietary carbohydrates.

In a recent case series, published in Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity, findings suggest that it’s possible to reverse hypertriglyceridemia by eating a very low-carbohydrate diet and practicing intermittent fasting.

For reference, hypertriglyceridemia is a condition in which triglycerides in the bloodstream are elevated (150 mg/dL or higher, with severe elevations defined as above 500 mg/dL).

In this particular series, published by Diet Doctor expert panel member Dr. Tro Kalayjian and colleagues, two participants with severe hypertriglyceridemia restricted their carbohydrate intake and practiced intermittent fasting. As a result, they showed substantial decreases in serum triglycerides and resolved their conditions.

Why is this significant?

While anecdotal, these results show the potential benefits of living a very low-carb lifestyle — while practicing intermittent fasting — for people with high triglycerides.

Second, as the case series’ authors point out:

Current guidelines from the AHA/ACC recommend the initiation of a very low-fat diet to treat persistently elevated triglycerides, whereas the National Lipid Association argues that a very-low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet is contraindicated in severe hypertriglyceridemia. In contrast, we report the resolution of two cases of severe hypertriglyceridemia with implementation of very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets and intermittent fasting.

We should note that since there were only two patients, we can’t draw broad conclusions from the reported results. More data, from a well-designed randomized controlled trial, would be needed.

But these patients’ ability to resolve their condition by making dietary changes offers us an example of how motivated patients can feel empowered to try different approaches to nutrition and see what works best. Of course, should you consider taking such an approach, be sure to consult with a physician before you begin.

To find a low-carb doctor in your area, be sure to check out our Find A Doctor map, which is a new feature of ours that we’re still populating — but are proud to say, is growing rapidly.

Additionally, to learn more about intermittent fasting, and the ways in which you can go about it, check out our Intermittent fasting for beginners guide.

And of course, should you find yourself growing bored of your own keto creations — or if you want to try keto for the first time — be sure to check out our recipes section. There, you’ll find hundreds of keto-friendly recipes, just waiting for you to give them a try!

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Scientific assessment of contraindications to a keto diet