Most doctors will look at a blood test and focus on the “Total Cholesterol” number as a potential risk factor for heart disease. But a Harvard study shows that the more important numbers on your lipid profile are Triglycerides and HDL — specifically, the ratio of Trigs to HDL. Ideally, you want this ratio to be 2 or lower. Anything under 3.5 is considered good, however.

For example, if your Triglycerides are 100 and your HDL is 50, simply divide 100/50 for a ratio of 2. This is where you want to be.

The Harvard study linked above showed that those with the highest ratio of Triglycerides to HDL had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lower ratio. A diet high in carbohydrate is known to elevate triglycerides.