who took statins to lower their cholesterol levels ate more
calories and fat in 2009-10 than did those who took them a
decade earlier, raising the question of whether the drug
provides a false sense of dietary security.
who used data from a national health survey found that in
1999-2000, people who took statins ate fewer calories, by an
average of 179 a day, and less fat than people who didnít
take them. The differences began to shrink, and by 2005-06,
the difference was insignificant.
2009-10, statin users had increased their daily calories by
9.6 percent and their fat intake by 14.4 percent over the
decade. Those not taking statins did not have a significant
change, the researchers said. The increase of body mass index
ó a measure of obesity calculated by comparing weight and
height ó also was greater for people who took statins than
those who did not.
modifications and medications are used to lower cholesterol
levels as ways to prevent heart disease and other conditions.
are used by about one-sixth of adults. We may need to
re-emphasize the importance of dietary modification for those
who are taking these medications, now that obesity and
diabetes are important problems in society," Takehiro
Sugiyama, who led the research while a visiting scholar at the
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said in a statement.
considerations should be included in the discussion. We
believe that, when physicians prescribe statins, the goal is
to decrease patientsí cardiovascular risks that cannot be
achieved without medications, not to empower them to put
butter on steaks," Sugiyama added.
study was presented last week at the annual meeting of the
Society of General Internal Medicine and is being published in
the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
study, the researchers used data from nearly 28,000
participants ages 20 and older in the National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey. What they ate was measured with
a 24-hour dietary recall, taken by trained interviewers.
reasons for the changes are not certain, said Dr. Martin
Shapiro, one of the authors.
are highly variable, and it would inappropriate to make
generalizations," he said by phone.
own doctor put him on statins and his cholesterol fell
dramatically, he said. "Until then I worked relentlessly
to limit calories and fat and do all kinds of other good
things for my health. To be honest, I was a little less
careful" once he saw what medication did.
Shapiro noted that the study did not track people over the
decade, so they are not the same people being weighed and
measured each time. In addition, about twice as many people
were taking statins in 2009 than in 1999, and itís possible
more people who eat more began taking them over the years, he
a complicated question, but it seems likely that some people
are feeling like they donít have to watch it as closely as
they did before," Shapiro said.