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Some carbohydrates raise triglycerides, but brown rice has the opposite effect 1. The American Heart Association, or AHA, recommends eating brown rice and avoiding refined grains, such as white rice. Adding brown rice to your diet can lower your triglycerides and your weight 1.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood 1. High triglycerides have been linked to hardening of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, according to Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health 1. Excess calories are converted into triglycerides and stored as fat until they’re needed for energy 1. A diet very high in carbohydrates is one culprit when triglycerides are high 1. The Mayo Clinic notes that sugars and simple carbohydrates, like white rice, can raise triglycerides 1. Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, won't raise your triglycerides as much 1.
Does Oatmeal Turn Into Starch?
Brown rice is a whole grain, which means its outer shell hasn’t been removed in processing. Whole grains are healthier than refined grains because the whole grain contains vitamins, iron and dietary fiber. These nutrients are removed during the processing of refined grains. According to the AHA, refined grains are often enriched with B vitamins and iron -- but not fiber -- after processing. Fiber-rich whole grains, such as brown rice, will help you feel full without high calories, reducing hunger and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
- Brown rice is a whole grain, which means its outer shell hasn’t been removed in processing.
The Cleveland Clinic indicates that eating brown rice, while limiting white rice and other refined grains, will help control your triglycerides 13. Eating the right foods can start to lower your triglycerides within a few days, reports the University of Massachusetts Medical Center 1. Even if you don’t have high triglycerides, eating too many refined grains and foods with added sugar may affect your triglycerides, the AHA reports 13. Fiber-rich whole grains, such as brown rice, also help lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. In a 2011 Northwestern University study, young and middle-aged adults who ate a high-fiber diet had a lower lifetime risk of heart disease than low-fiber eaters 4.
Mayo Clinic Triglyceride Diet
To reduce your triglycerides, the Cleveland Clinic recommends a healthy diet that includes moderate amounts of whole grains, such as brown rice 13. If your triglycerides are 150 mg/dl or higher, avoid succumbing to the couch 1. Regular exercise, such as brisk walking, can lower your triglycerides 1. The AHA recommends getting 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five or more days a week. Combining exercise with diet changes is recommended. The bottom line is that brown rice won’t raise your triglycerides 1. In fact, this nutritious grain can keep your triglycerides in a healthy range, protecting you from heart disease 1.
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- Medline Plus: Triglycerides
- Cleveland Clinic: How Foods Affect Triglycerides
- Northwestern University: Load Up on Fiber Now, Avoid Heart Disease Later; Erin White; March 22, 2011
- Titov VN, Aripovskii AV, Schekotov VV, Schekotova AP, Kukharchuk VV. [The oleic triglycerides of palm oil and palmitic triglycerides of creamy fat. The reaction of palmitoylation, potassium and magnesium palmitate, absorption of fatty acids by enterocytes and microbiota of large intestine]. Klin Lab Diagn. 2016;61(8):452-61.
- Alves-bezerra M, Cohen DE. Triglyceride Metabolism in the Liver. Compr Physiol. 2017;8(1):1-8. doi:10.1002/cphy.c170012
- Barson JR, Karatayev O, Gaysinskaya V, Chang GQ, Leibowitz SF. Effect of dietary fatty acid composition on food intake, triglycerides, and hypothalamic peptides. Regul Pept. 2012;173(1-3):13-20. doi:10.1016/j.regpep.2011.08.012
- Rahmany S, Jialal I. Biochemistry, Chylomicron. [Updated 2019 Aug 9]. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-.
- Bansal S, Buring JE, Rifai N, et al. Fasting compared with nonfasting triglycerides and risk of cardiovascular events in women. JAMA 2007; 298:309. DOI:10.1001/jama.298.3.309
- Handelsman Y, Shapiro MD. TRIGLYCERIDES, ATHEROSCLEROSIS, AND CARDIOVASCULAR OUTCOME STUDIES: FOCUS ON OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS. Endocr Pract. 2017;23(1):100-112. doi:10.4158/EP161445.RA
- Tirosh A, Shai I, Bitzur R, et al. Changes in triglyceride levels over time and risk of type 2 diabetes in young men. Diabetes Care. 2008;31(10):2032-7. doi:10.2337/dc08-0825
- Ballantyne CM, Grundy SM, Oberman A, et al. Hyperlipidemia: diagnostic and therapeutic perspectives. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000; 85:2089. DOI:10.1210/jcem.85.6.6642-1
- Marston NA, Giugliano RP, Im K, et al. Association Between Triglyceride Lowering and Reduction of Cardiovascular Risk Across Multiple Lipid-Lowering Therapeutic Classes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Circulation 2019; 140:1308. DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041998
- Skulas-Ray AC, Wilson PWF, Harris WS, et al. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Management of Hypertriglyceridemia: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association. Circulation 2019; 140:e673. DOI:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000709
Jan Sheehan is an award-winning medical and nutrition writer, having entered journalism in 1992. She is a former contributing editor for "Parents" magazine. She has also written nutrition articles for "Self," "Fitness," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Health" and other magazines. Sheehan has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Purdue University.