Cholesterol Support

Please can someone explain triglycerides?

Other than just a number on a cholesterol blood test what are they and why are they bad? As I understand it hydrogenated oils [palm, rapeseed and sunflower] are oils that are treated to solidify them for convenience and are apparently bad for us. Why are they worse than the liquid oil?

Other than being used for commercial purposes, does this class all the spreads and margarines we buy as hydrogenated oil? Does it mean that all those poly/mono unsaturated margarines we were bullied into eating instead of butter over the past decades were triglycerides. Or are triglycerides what our liver produces if we eat margarine and processed foods? And where does that leave Flora and Benecol spreads and yogurt? Or are they just one huge con as I suspect?

For myself I've ignored all the Flora and Benecol propaganda and stuck with butter. It tastes good so it must do you good!!

11 Replies

Here are some chemical facts :

1. All vegetable and animal sourced oils and fats are "triglycerides" i.e. tri-esters of various fatty acids with glycerol which is a tri-hydric alcohol (three hydroxyl groups in the molecule, hydroxyl group being the hall mark of an "alcohol" molecule. Olestra a P & G marketed cooking medium is not a triglyceride but is a modified starch which is not metabolized by human body.

2.Fatty acids may be saturated, unsaturated or, poly-unsaturated. It has been claimed in the past that the fats or oils (these two words are used as synonyms) containing saturated fatty acids were likely to contribute to deposits in blood vessels and potentially lead to heart troubles.

3. A fat containing diet has been claimed to contribute to higher cholesterol in blood (hypercholesterolemia. I hope I have spelt that last word correctly).

4. The validity of both assertions at 2 and 3 above is a topic of hot discussion in medical circles with comparatively rabid apologists on both sides.

5.Margarines are synthetic butter substitutes made from partially hydrogenated oils, water, emulsifiers and butter flavours. Depending upon the relative proportions of oil and water, "regular" and "lean" varieties are marketed. When one purchases "lean" variety one is in fact buying a product containing more water but with a fancier name!

6. Until population pressures and introduction of "healthy" western products (DALDA was the first entrant amongst shortening as a genre, introduced by Unilever in India), clarified butter (or ghee) was the preferred cooking medium in India, supplemented by other local oleaginous products : Coconut oil in South India, Groundnut oil in Western and Central India and Mustard Oil in the North and East. And most Indians were doing all right, thanks for asking. More sedentary life styles have made eating stuff cooked in ghee, at least psychologically, "unaffordable".

I know the foregoing appears hairy but is worth bearing in mind before swallowing any muck put out by "experts" of food marketers.

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Here is a rule of thumb anything that doesnt melt at room temperature will not melt in your arteries so yes better to eat butter!

And vegetable oils like canola,sunflower/safflower etc.. are NOT good either b/c of their high heat processes taken through they are also artery destroyers and cause dyslipidemia)

better to cook w/coconut oil or avocado oil too I think is safe.

Use olive oil mixed w/vinegar etc.. for salads.

(Hope this is useful and accurate this is just my understanding)


Chemistry is certainly a difficult subject! Hopefully this site usually has some useful information.

Like you, I wouldn't use Floral/Benecol products. This is one study that found they could cause damage in certain individuals.


Thank you all for replying and explaining - and blinding me with science!! - I've read all the links and it all seems much clearer. I'd never really known what triglycerides were other than that they were bad.

I've learnt so much from this site about cholesterol and actually it has made me a whole lot more sceptical over the past 3 years, I'm now a whole lot more relaxed and informed about it and eat as many eggs and as much butter as I want. My cholesterol at 6.6 is much higher than the NHS likes thanks perhaps to the eggs and butter but the ratio is 2.4 which I believe is fine. I always cook from scratch in any event.

Thanks everyone for your time.

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Having a high fasting trygliceride level is suppose to be a risk factor for heart disease. From all the reading I've done, they're a more reliable indicator of risk than total cholesterol or LDL levels.

Your liver makes trigylcerides itself and mostly does so from carbohydrates, particularly refined carboyhydrates and alcohol.

So if you've got a trigs level over 1.7, it's a good idea to look at your diet.

More here.


They don't give you a trig number now. My last test gives - se non HDL cholesterol at 3.8; - which I imagine is what passes for LDL and trigs combined but I don't know. Other than the Se Non HDL they give HDL; ratio and total.


sounds a bit odd - mine definitely gave me a trigs number. HDL and trigs are very different. Trigs are actually VLDL - very low density lipoprotein.


My last test was in November and was non fasting hence the Se Non HDL which I gather is something to do with the test being non fasting. Definitely no trigs listed

though. I thought it must be LDL and trigs combined, not HDL. My total was 6.6 which NICE would disapprove of I'm sure but my dr ws happy with it, the ratio is what she looked at and that was 2.4


that would make sense. Chylomicrons are made from dietary fat and would affect a non fasting test.


Tryglicerides come usually from weight gain. My tryg jumped 100 points in three month to 250. Only change is Gained weight and higher blood sugar.

Have to Lose weight and stop eating butter all Margerine cheese except reduced fat etc and non fat milk in coffee no cream


Have been away!

Please take a look at the explanation on this link:


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