The Way of the Future? Statins with Your Take-Away

at the Imperial College in London have suggested in a new study that
fast food outlets could provide statin drugs free of charge so that
customers can neutralise the heart disease dangers of fatty food.

In a paper published in the American Journal of Cardiology, Dr
Darrel Francis and colleagues calculate that the reduction in
cardiovascular risk offered by a statin is enough to offset the
increase in heart attack risk from eating a cheeseburger and a

Dr Francis, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at the
Imperial College, and who is also the senior author of the study, said:
“Statin’s don’t cut out all of the unhealthy effects of burgers and
fries. It’s better to avoid fatty food altogether. But we’ve worked out
that in terms of your likelihood of having a heart attack, taking a
statin can reduce your risk to more or less the same degree as a fast
food meal increases it.”

“It’s ironic that people are free to take as many unhealthy
condiments in fast food outlets as they like, but statins, which are
beneficial to heart health, have to be prescribed,” Dr Francis said.

“Everybody knows that fast food is bad for you, but people continue
to eat it because it tastes good. We’re genetically programmed to
prefer high-calorie foods, and sadly fast food chains will continue to
sell unhealthy food because it earns them a living.

“It makes sense to make risk-reducing supplements available just as
easily as the unhealthy condiments that are provided free of charge. It
would cost less than 5p per customer – not much different to a sachet
of ketchup.

“When people engage in risky behaviours like driving or smoking,
they’re encouraged to take measures that minimise their risk, like
wearing a seatbelt or choosing cigarettes with filters. Taking a statin
is a rational way of lowering some of the risk of eating a fatty meal.”

Dr. Hooper’s Comment:

How refreshing it is to see that in this day and age, with all we
know about health and nutrition; we are still looking for a magical
cure for everything.

It is unbelievable to think that this sort of drug treatment could
even be considered, let alone approved. What lesson does this teach
people? That it’s okay to eat everything and anything to your heart’s
content – just take some drugs afterwards so you won’t suffer the
consequences? What a joke.

It’s even more amusing how in this study, statin drugs are portrayed
as ‘miracle’ drugs – safe and effective, without any consequences.
Unfortunately, this just isn’t true.

As well as some minor side-effects, like muscle and joint aches,
nausea, diarrhoea and constipation, statin drugs can also cause serious
side-effects like:

  • Liver damage. Statin use causes an increase in liver enzymes. If
    left unchecked, increased liver enzymes can lead to permanent liver
  • Muscle problems. Statins may cause muscle cells to break down, and
    release a protein called myoglobin into the blood stream. This can
    damage the kidneys.

A healthy diet and exercise still proves to be the best treatment
for stabilising cholesterol levels. Cutting out the junk and fast food
(rather than taking more drugs to combat the ill-effects) and opting
instead for healthier choices is a much more effective and
life-changing choice than swallowing a pill.

We need to get out of the mindset that we can eat whatever we want and just take a pill later. This simply does not work.

Further reading: