12 January - 20 June 2016

Today's statin users consume more calories and fat than those of a decade ago

7 May 14

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine and also presented at the annual meeting of the Society of General Internal Medicine has found a worrying trend in calorific and fat intake among statin users in the US. Researchers looked at the calories and fat consumed by users of statins and non-users in the years 1999 - 2000, and 2009 - 2010, using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This showed almost 10% greater caloric consumption in 2009 - 2010 statin users than in those of a decade earlier, and over 14% greater fat consumption. The same trend was not observed among non-statin users, whose fat and calorie intake had stayed almost the same across the same time period.

The design of the study did not allow for the mechanism of these trends to be fully explained, and this is a question for further research. One suggestion from the authors, however, was that statin users may be less inclined to control their diet due to an assumption that the statins will protect against the negative impacts of high calorie and fat intake. This is not the case, however; consumption of fats - especially saturated fats - in fact negates the effect of statins, and may lead to elevated cholesterol levels. Another possible explanation is that today's doctors are more likely to prescribe statins in the first place to those with higher caloric and fat intakes.

Given the many health risks associated with high calorie and fat intake, such as hypertension, type II diabetes, stroke and heart disease, the authors suggest that it may be appropriate to now reevaluate and discuss dietary recommendations given to patients on statins. [ScienceDaily]

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