ZocdocAnswersCan having a level of triglycerides cause obesity?

Question

Can having a level of triglycerides cause obesity?

My triglyceride levels are high and my doctor is concerned. I am only 41 and he worries I am becoming obese.

Answer

Triglycerides are a measure of how much fat is floating around the blood. Like cholesterol, there is a genetic component to them, but also a very significant dietary component. Just like if you eat a lot of foods high in cholesterol you will increase your cholesterol levels, if you eat a lot of foods that are high in fat content, you will increase your triglycerides. However, triglycerides themselves do not CAUSE obesity. Rather, eating fatty foods causes weight gain (and thus obesity) as well as causing high triglycerides. There are medications that can lower your triglyceride levels, but none of these have been shown to decrease your risk of heart attacks and strokes, and they most certainly will not help you lose weight and prevent obesity. The only way to do lower your triglycerides and ALSO lose weight (and prevent becoming obese) is to improve your diet by eating smaller portions and decreasing how much of your diet comes from fat. Increasing your frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise will help you to lose weight and prevent obesity, too. You should make an appointment with a nutritionist or a dietician to discuss this further. Your primary care physician can help to facilitate this.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.