I am an amateur road cyclist (5'9" and 80kg) and happen to have a high level of triglycerides and VLDL.

I am trying to understand how the body uses fats as fuel on a ride and how I can force the muscle to use more fats than carbs on a ride.

Does L-carnitine help or is it a myth?

  • My understanding is that cutting down on sugar (vs fats) is the primary way to attack high triglycerides. Oct 2, 2016 at 12:42
  • HI @DanielRHicks Are you suggesting i reduce the sugar/carb intake before/while riding? I am trying to figure out if body can reduce the reliability on glycogen and use fats instead if i reduce my sugar(carb based) intake before ride or in general?
    – Atul
    Oct 2, 2016 at 12:47
  • As I understand it, there is a functional difference between sugar and complex carbs in terms of the way they get converted to triglycerides, likely having to do with how quickly they are absorbed. At least when I cut out the candy bars years ago (on the advice of my doc) my triglyceride level dropped significantly. (Of course, eating M&Ms is a hard habit to kick.) Oct 2, 2016 at 12:52

1 Answer 1


I'm studying professional nutrition and work in a clinic where the doctors get similar questions. One major tip is to eat more healthy fats and oils to get your body used to burning more fats. Foods like nuts, avocados, olive oils, and fatty fish. Grapefruit is also highly recommended. Link http://www.wikihow.com/Burn-Fat

Side Note: The muscles don't burn fat directly. They run on stored glycogen (condensed glucose) and blood glucose. When that runs out they call on the liver to convert it's stores of glycogen to glucose and send it via the bloodstream to to muscles. The liver then works to replenish its glycagen stores with the easiest energy source available (your last meal or two). If you've been eating lots of healthy fats and oils the liver will adapt to being more efficient at burning those. Thus, when you do a lot of exericise the liver will use more body fats to make glucose for your muscles.

Reference: Principle of Anatomy and Physiology, by Gerard Totora and Bryan Derrickson.

  • Thank you for answering! I am incorporating flax seeds to get the "good" fats. I was thinking if i could accelerate the use of blood fats in coordination with balancing the HDL/VLDL ratio. Is this possible in the first place or i have to rely on time to fix this,
    – Atul
    Oct 2, 2016 at 12:39
  • I'm not qualified to answer that! However, from my research on healing with natural foods, it seems many people have done this over several months.
    – Baden Mac
    Oct 2, 2016 at 12:52
  • It's worth noting that grapefruit strongly interacts with a lot of medications, including statins (a class of drugs used to treat high cholesterol). Anyone taking medications should ask a doctor/pharmacist before eating more than a moderate amount of grapefruit, or at least google "[name of drug] grapefruit".
    – Jamie A
    Oct 3, 2016 at 21:13

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