Nutrition Nutrition and Lifestyle Facts

Make it about what
you can do & can eat 9,37

If you or a family member has severe hypertriglyceridemia (sHTG), you’ve probably figured out that nutrition plays a key role in managing the disease. The Three P’s of preparation, practice, and positivity can help you save time and eat healthier, as can working with a registered dietitian.

The Three P’s


Preparation: Plan for your success

Having sHTG doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to foods you love entirely — if you take the time to prepare and have a routine you can stick to. Some ways to plan ahead include:

  • Make a menu for the week ahead and have the right ingredients on hand when it’s time to cook. Build it around the foods you like that may also help you reach your low triglyceride goals, such as:
    • Leafy greens and colorful vegetables
    • Beans, peas, and lentils
    • Non-oily white fish, like cod, skate, haddock, or canned tuna in water
    • Lean proteins, like breast of most poultry (white meat), skinned and trimmed of all fat
    • Most shellfish, including shrimp, squid, and lobster.
    • Egg whites.
    • Fat-free milk, cheese, and plain yogurt.
    • Complex carbohydrates, like whole grain bread and whole grain pasta
    • Herbs and spices; most are non-fat
    • Water, tea, and coffee
  • Read Nutrition Facts food labels so you know what’s inside packaged foods and if you can eat them.
  • Cook food for the week ahead on weekends or days off.
  • Keep healthy snacks around for emergencies. Frozen vegetables that can be quickly steamed in the microwave or prepared snacks like cut up bell peppers or egg whites can help.
  • Read menus online before you dine out, so you don’t feel pressured to choose while at the restaurant. Consider a low-fat snack before you go to keep your hunger in check. It’s also nice to have regular restaurants where the staff knows you and how you like to eat.

Practice: Adopt healthy habits for a lifetime

Repetition builds routine, so eventually your new,
healthier lifestyle will become second nature.

  1. Let others know about sHTG and how they can help. To avoid uncomfortable conversations, some people with sHTG simply explain that they’re “allergic to fat.” While it is not quite accurate, it may help others quickly grasp that sHTG is a serious condition, and that even a tiny bit of fat is not good for you.
  2. When it comes to health, it pays to speak up. Ask for sauces on the side. Remind the chef not to use any oil or butter in cooking. Bring fat-free dressing along for salads.
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Avoid hunger by eating every 2-3 hours.
  4. Monitor your body’s response. Many foods that help lower triglycerides are high in fiber. If you are not accustomed to eating this way, increase your intake of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and beans gradually, as tolerated.
  5. Keep a water bottle handy. Sometimes our bodies interpret dehydration as hunger, so drink lots of water. Staying hydrated may also reduce the risk of pancreatitis and help with high-fiber diets.

Positivity: Use optimism to your advantage

Instead of dwelling on what you can’t eat or can’t do, discover and embrace “the can” in life.

  1. Spend time cooking with your family or friends. The National Lipid Association has many resources including recipes you can try to make together.
  2. Enjoy every mouthful. Take a bite. Chew slowly. Eating mindfully can create a more satisfying and filling mealtime experience.
  3. Experiment with new flavors and spices. Have fun! You may be surprised and find something you enjoy.

If you have familial chylomicronemia syndrome (FCS), you may have heard about MCT oil

What is MCT oil? 37

MCT oil is a source of fat and calories for people unable to digest or absorb conventional fats. It is usually colorless and has little odor or flavor.

MCT stands for medium-chain triglyceride. MCT oil is absorbed into the bloodstream, but the way it is absorbed differs from other fats such as olive oil or butter.

Although MCT oil is considered an alternative for people who must limit fat intake, it is recommended that MCT oil only be used under medical supervision. If you have FCS, talk to a dietitian about getting a prescription for MCT oil.

Some people cannot tolerate MCT oil, so it should be introduced in small amounts.

What is the difference between MCT oil and coconut oil?

MCT oil and coconut oil are not the same. Although MCT oil is a product of coconut oil, it has been processed and purified to remove fatty acids that are harmful for people who must follow fat restrictive diets.

How do I cook with MCT oil?

There are many different ways to use MCT Oil. It may be mixed into fat-free sauces, salad dressings, and other foods such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and vegetables after they are boiled, steamed or baked.

IMPORTANT: MCT oil is not a frying oil because it has a low smoke point. Use low temperatures when cooking with MCT oil.

Where can I purchase MCT oil?

Talk to a registered dietitian about getting a prescription for MCT oil, in order to allow the possibility of insurance coverage and to ensure you get medical-grade MCT oil.

Warning: Certain MCT oils can be purchased on the internet or in conventional grocery stores. These over-the-counter “MCT oils” can be dangerous as they may contain additional additives or fats that may be harmful to people with FCS. If you have FCS, make sure you use only medical-grade MCT oil obtained by a prescription.

Please consult with your registered dietitian and physician before consuming any oil.

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