In a 2011 statement released by the American Heart Association, experts presented Paleo-friendly lifestyle changes that can significantly lower elevated levels of triglycerides. They analyzed more than 500 international studies from the past 30 years to come up with dietary changes for people with high triglyceride levels. These dietary changes included limiting added sugar, trans fats, alcohol and fructose and encouraged eating more vegetables and lower-fructose fruits. Recommendations also include increasing healthier unsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, due to the large body of evidence showing the triglyceride-lowering effects of marine-derived omega-3 PUFA.

Interestingly, the statement acknowledges that non-marine based omega-3s, like those found in canola, chia, flaxseed, soybeans and walnuts have not demonstrated consistent abilities in lowering triglyceride levels like the marine-derived PUFAs and thus are not recommended for triglyceride lowering. It also “triglyceride is not directly atherogenic” and suggests that optimal fasting triglyceride levels should be divided as less than 100 mg/dL.

According to the statement, weight loss (5%-10% of body weight) has the biggest effect on triglycerides, lowering levels by as much as 20%. Reducing carbohydrate intake, added sugars/fructose, while increasing unsaturated fat intake could reduce triglyceride levels by another 10-20%. When these lifestyle changes are combined with other suggestions such as eliminating trans fats, reducing saturated fat intake, adding marine-derived PUFA, and adding aerobic activities, the authors estimate a 50% or more reduction in triglyceride levels is possible.