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10 causes of high fat in people with diabetes

Obesity, high-calorie meals, poorly controlled diabetes … make the amount of triglycerides (triglycerides) higher, increasing the risk of heart disease, nerve damage.

The body can make and store fat in addition to the fat it gets from food. People with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome often have higher than normal levels of triglycerides. Triglycerides are fats in the blood and are used to provide energy for the body.

High triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and nerve damage. Research has found a link between long-term elevated triglyceride levels and conditions such as atherosclerosis and insulin resistance. To check your triglyceride levels, you’ll usually need to fast for at least eight hours before your blood sample is drawn. Fasting triglyceride test results: normal is less than 150 mg/dL, 150-199 is borderline high mg/dL, high is 200-499 mg/dL, very high is more than 500 mg/dL.

There are many causes of high triglycerides. People with certain health problems or risk factors often have higher triglyceride levels. For example, elevated triglyceride levels are common in people with metabolic syndrome. This group of disorders increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes. This syndrome can also cause high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased belly fat.

Poor control of diabetes

Diabetes that is not well managed leads to high levels of glucose (blood sugar) and insulin in the body. Insulin helps convert glucose into a storeable form (glycogen). It also helps store glycogen in the liver. If the liver has too much glycogen, the body will use the glucose to make fatty acids. The acids are used to make triglycerides. When they are released into the bloodstream, they can accumulate in fat cells and increase the amount of fat in the body.

Eat more calories than your body burns

The body uses triglycerides as a quick source of energy between meals. The remaining calories are stored in the cells as triglycerides.

High-calorie meals increase the risk of fat accumulation.  Photo: Freepik

High-calorie meals increase the risk of fat accumulation. Image: Freepik

High amount of carbohydrates

As the body digests food, carbohydrates are broken down and glucose is released. The glucose is then absorbed by the intestines and enters the bloodstream.

If the diabetes is poorly controlled, the extra glucose can be used to make triglycerides. Carbohydrates come from foods such as dairy products, grains (bread, pasta, rice…), starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn…), plants legumes, fruit, sugary foods (cookies, cakes, candies…). Carbohydrates are not bad foods, they are an important part of a balanced diet. However, if you eat too many carbohydrates that can cause triglycerides to increase.


Overweight and obese people do not always have high triglycerides. However, research has found a link between obesity and hypertriglyceridemia, having a larger waistline with high triglycerides.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when your body doesn’t respond to the insulin you make. That means the sugar can’t get into the cells but stays in the blood. Insulin resistance leads to high insulin and glucose levels. Therefore, people with poorly controlled diabetes often have high triglycerides.


The risk of chronic kidney failure is higher in people with diabetes. Diabetes is one of the most common causes of this condition. In people with kidney failure, it is difficult for the body to control blood fats because the body produces more triglycerides, is unable to remove fat from the blood, or both. Kidney failure can also cause insulin resistance or make it worse.


People with low HDL cholesterol and high triglyceride levels due to genetic factors have an increased risk of developing type two diabetes.

Low thyroid hormone levels

Thyroid disorders are also common in people with diabetes. Many people with diabetes also have an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. If you have both high triglycerides and high cholesterol levels it could be a sign of low thyroid hormone levels and should be seen by your doctor. In some cases, treating hypothyroidism can help lower triglyceride levels.


Certain medications can also increase triglyceride levels such as birth control pills, estrogens, beta blockers, diuretics, etc. If you are neutral, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking the medicine unless your doctor tells you to.


Some foods and drinks affect triglyceride levels more than others. In people with diabetes, the effects may be stronger because the body is less able to process certain foods. Foods that can contribute to high triglyceride levels include simple sugars (sugar drinks, cookies, cakes, candy, etc.), processed, refined grains (white bread, etc.) , white pasta…), foods high in fat, especially saturated and trans fats (processed meats such as sausages, bacon, bacon; sweets, fried foods) , Alcohol.

To lower triglyceride levels, the American Heart Association recommends regular exercise, a diet low in carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats, and choosing heart-healthy fats (fatty fish like such salmon, nuts, avocado, olive oil…), quit smoking, limit alcohol intake, try to keep blood sugar levels normal. If lifestyle changes do not help reduce triglyceride levels, you should see your doctor for appropriate interventions and treatment.

Kim Uyen
(According to Verywell Health)

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