Fried Chicken > Does fried chicken raise triglycerides

Does Fried Chicken Raise Triglycerides?

Fried foods like fried chicken are often associated with increased blood triglyceride levels. But does eating fried chicken actually cause your triglycerides to go up? Let’s take a closer look at the link between fried foods, fried chicken and triglycerides.

Does Fried Chicken Raise Triglycerides?

Yes, eating fried chicken does tend to raise triglyceride levels. Fried chicken is high in saturated fat and trans fat, both of which increase triglyceride production in the liver.

When chicken is deep fried, it absorbs a large amount of oil. A 3-ounce serving of fried chicken contains about 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of which are saturated. Saturated fats directly lead to higher levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream.

Fried chicken also contains trans fats, which form when the oil is heated to high temperatures. Trans fats tell the liver to produce more triglycerides while also lowering HDL or “good” cholesterol. This double whammy effect makes fried chicken particularly troublesome when it comes to triglycerides.

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In addition, fried chicken is often coated in batter containing refined carbs and fried repeatedly in reused oil. This further increases the fat and calorie content.

Eating fried chicken occasionally may not directly cause a spike in triglycerides by itself. However, consuming it on a regular basis can lead to chronically elevated triglyceride levels over time along with weight gain, which also raises triglycerides.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of saturated fats to no more than 5-6% of total daily calories and avoiding trans fats altogether. Following this advice by limiting fried chicken and other fried foods can help maintain normal triglyceride levels.

What are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. After you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need right away into triglycerides. Triglycerides are stored in your fat cells and released into your bloodstream when your body needs energy between meals.

A high triglyceride level is generally defined as 150 mg/dL or higher. Having elevated triglycerides increases your risk for heart disease, especially when triglycerides are above 200 mg/dL.

How Fried Foods Impact Triglycerides?

Fried foods are high in fat, calories and often salt. Foods that are fried absorb large amounts of oil, up to an additional 50% of calories. This makes them high in saturated and trans fats.

Consuming foods high in saturated and trans fats causes your liver to produce more triglycerides. Fried foods also cause your body to produce more low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol.

Over time, eating a lot of fried foods like fried chicken can cause triglyceride levels to creep upwards.

Other Factors That Raise Triglycerides

While fried chicken and other fried foods may raise your triglycerides, especially when eaten in excess, they aren’t the only culprit. Here are some other factors that can cause high triglyceride levels:

    • Being overweight or obese
    • Consuming excessive calories, sugar and refined carbohydrates
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Genetics
    • Certain medications like birth control pills, beta blockers, steroids
    • Health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease and hypothyroidism

In addition, triglyceride levels tend to increase as people get older.

Tips to Lower Your Triglycerides

If you enjoy an occasional serving of fried chicken but want to keep your triglyceride levels in check, here are some tips:

    • Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Losing even 5-10 pounds can help lower triglycerides.
    • Limit fried food, fatty meats, full-fat dairy and baked goods.
    • Eat more fiber from fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and lentils.
    • Avoid sugary foods and beverages.
    • Limit alcohol intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.
    • Take fish oil supplements to get more omega-3 fatty acids.
    • If triglycerides are very high, medication may be needed to lower the levels.

The bottom line is that frequently eating fried chicken and other fried foods is likely to raise your triglyceride levels over time. However, following a healthy lifestyle can offset the risks that come with the occasional fried meal. Monitoring your triglycerides and making diet and exercise adjustments as needed can help you maintain heart health.

FAQs
Does fried food raise triglycerides?

Yes, eating fried foods often raises triglyceride levels. Frying submerges foods in hot oil which causes them to absorb high amounts of fat, up to 50% more calories. The high heat also leads to the formation of trans fats.

Fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, and donuts are high in saturated and trans fats, which directly tell the liver to produce more triglycerides. Eating fried foods regularly promotes weight gain as well, further contributing to elevated triglycerides over time. Limiting fried foods is important for maintaining normal triglyceride levels.

What foods should you avoid if you have high triglycerides?

If you have high triglycerides, you should avoid or limit foods that are fried, high in saturated fats, contain trans fats, or have high amounts of added sugars. Specific foods to reduce include fried items, fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy, baked goods, sweetened beverages, candy, ice cream, and sugary cereals.

Focus instead on healthy fats from avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish. Increasing intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains can also help lower triglyceride levels.

What triggers high triglycerides?

Triglyceride levels can spike after eating fatty or sugary foods. Chronic high triglycerides are often triggered by being overweight, consuming a diet high in refined carbs and unhealthy fats, drinking excess alcohol, physical inactivity, genetics, medical conditions like diabetes and kidney disease, and certain medications.

Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting sugar and refined carbs, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol intake can all help prevent high triglycerides.

What causes high triglycerides but normal cholesterol?

It is possible to have elevated triglycerides with normal cholesterol levels. Causes include being overweight, eating a diet very high in refined carbs and sugar, genetics, untreated diabetes or hypothyroidism, chronic health conditions like fatty liver disease, and medications like estrogen, steroids, and beta blockers.

Getting triglycerides down through diet, exercise, weight loss, and limiting alcohol and sugar intake should be the priority if cholesterol is normal.

 

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