Doctors want statins served with fast food

Health Editor,Jeremy Laurance
Friday 13 August 2010 00:00
Comments

Customers of fast food restaurants could be offered a free statin along with the burger, salt and ketchup, to mitigate the meal's damaging effects on the heart, doctors suggest.

Providing the cholesterol lowering drug with every burger would help combat its artery clogging tendency, they say. The statin would perform a function equivalent to a filter on a cigarette or a seat-belt in a car. People will continue to pursue unhealthy habits but with a slightly reduced risk.

Darrel Francis from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, London, says in the American Journal of Cardiology that the reduction in risk offered by a statin approximately equals the increase in risk from eating a cheeseburger and a milkshake.

Statins do not work instantly but regular fast food customers who routinely swallowed the pill with their burger would see a cumulative benefit. Trials show a daily statin reduces heart attack risk by 20-70 per cent. Dr Francis said: "Everybody knows that fast food is bad for you, but people continue to eat it because it tastes good.

"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 risks of eating a fatty meal."

Mike Knapton, associate medical director of the British Heart Foundation, rejected the suggestion.

"Risk reduction has a place in tobacco addiction. But the risk of eating burgers goes beyond the cholesterol raising effects. It can cause high blood pressure through too much salt, or obesity through eating meals loaded with calories. Adding a statin could do more harm than good by increasing consumption."

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in