Scientists from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London have suggested that fast food restaurants supply their customers with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs alongside their heart-challenging meals. I wonder if salads are as scarce as IQ points in their neck of the woods. Do they really think this is the solution?

Senior author of the study, “Dr.” Darrel Francis states, “Statins 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.”

Am I the only one appalled by this? I mean, is there anyone, anywhere, nodding their head yes to this and hailing it as a scientific breakthrough or even as a good idea? I can only pray that this is some sort of deeply satirical suggestion that the American Journal of Cardiology decided to print in the hopes that it would wake somebody up out of their Whopper-induced nap and make them see the very real and very tangible dangers that fast food presents. Beyond being practically devoid of any nutritional value, it is extremely taxing to your body and your health.

Dr. Kevorkian Francis, perhaps realizing the world will find him to be a backwards oaf, attempts to regain some sort of respect, offering a general observation: “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 foods because it earns them a living.”

Jumping right back into lessening his credibility, he continues, “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 5 pence ($0.07USD) per customer — not much different to a sachet (packet) of ketchup.” [Emphasis added]

No, it does NOT make sense. As unhealthy as fast food is, the fact is, ritually chasing it with another in a long list of pharmaceuticals no doubt awaiting a massive recall simply compounds your problem. According to an excellent article on the inefficiency of statins (“Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?”, Business Week, Jan 2008), the clinical studies behind Lipitor were only effective in reducing the risk of a heart attack in 1 out of 100 patients, and those were usually patients with pre-existing heart conditions. And as with any drug, there are certainly inherent health risks and side effects associated with consumption, especially as a preventative measure:

Some patients have long complained of muscle aches from taking statins. And doctors periodically check patients on the drugs to make sure liver enzymes are not abnormally high. Doctors, though, have generally seen those risks as being more than offset by the drugs’ benefits for people with high levels of “bad” cholesterol and a significant risk of cardiovascular disease.

But then came the unexpected evidence linking statins to a diabetes risk, reported last month in the British medical journal The Lancet.  That report was based on an analysis of most of the major clinical studies of statins — including unpublished data and the results of the Crestor study that the F.D.A. reviewed. “We’ve had this drug for a while, and we’re just now finding out that there’s this diabetes problem with it?” said Dr. Hlatky.The F.D.A. acknowledged the diabetes risk, and told AstraZeneca to add it to Crestor’s label. But the agency nonetheless approved the new use on the basis of the clinical study, which showed a small but measurable reduction of strokes, heart attacks and other “cardiovascular events” among people taking the statin, compared with patients taking a placebo.

“Risks Seen in Cholesterol Drug Use in Healthy People”
The New York Times

Perhaps instead of doubling up on the poison, we should put down the double cheeseburger, large fries, and diet coke (and pill vial?), grab some veggies and take a friggin’ walk. It’s a nice day outside, damn it.