Is Taking a MacStatin a "Holistic" Approach?

Filed Under: Heart Health

Researchers at the Imperial College in London figured out—after massaging various statistical logarithms—that taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug with a fast food meal could “be expected to neutralize the increased relative risk for cardiovascular disease associated with the regular consumption of unhealthy foods.”

Then, during the last week of October, there was more UK support for the MacStatin…no doubt the latest marketing tactic from Big Pharma to permeate society with their products and rake in bookoo bucks.

Seems likely that the drug companies are just looking for more and more frontiers in which to spotlight and sell their products. From suggesting doctors give these drugs to our kids to prescribing them for folks who are afraid of developing cardiovascular problems, drug companies prey on our fears about heart disease.

Supporters for the MacStatin idea claim they “envisage a future in which fast food restaurants encourage a holistic approach to healthy living. And their “vision?”

After ordering an unhealthy meal, the food would arrive labeled with a warning message similar to those found on cigarette packets (something along the lines of “this meal increases your risk for heart disease and death”). Not a bad idea! 

However, on the tray next to the ketchup, would be a new and protective packet— the MacStatin—which could be sprinkled onto a Big Mac or into a milkshake. And on the statin label, the suggested motto would read, “I’m Neutralizin’ It.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Clearly this is targeted for the frequent-flyer fast food junkie who will be getting almost daily doses of his MacStatin, but why would any responsible holistic health practitioner suggest that tactic? Handing a drug out like a condiment?

This is creative marketing for sure, but scary tactics! Sort of the old humorous “magic bullet” idea—finding a pill that could be an easy quick-fix for overeating, smoking, or whatever!

While all this is good for a laugh, what’s not so funny is that so many really important and innovative studies can’t get printed, but science like this does. Big Pharma has big pockets—deep pockets—and that’s why their research, along with their products, can get a distorted amount of both press and support from mainstream medical groups.

For Dr. Sinatra, this MacStatin concept represents junk science heaped on junk food.

Maybe it’s medical politics. We can speculate that the article supporting this comical holistic notion—which appeared in the American Journal of Cardiology—may have been published because medical journals are kept afloat by pharmaceutical advertising.  But the idea of handing out what is currently a prescription drug in such a casual format is unthinkable. 

It made Dr. Sinatra recall an obese patient he had who came in for an office visit just before heading out on a cruise.  The fellow asked if taking extra vitamin E and CoQ10 would allow him to eat anything he wanted on his vacation? Of course, Dr. Sinatra set him straight on that.

As a nurse, I’m concerned that researchers would propose that taking a statin chaser with a fast food meal might represent some form of primary prevention for heart disease—and even speculate that the practice would actually reduce cardiovascular events. Really?

Secondary prevention—doing something after an event like a heart attack has happened—is a different matter. For a male with known coronary artery disease, taking a prescribed statin on a regular basis will help—a statin will assuage the inflammation we know provokes heart disease.  But taking an over-the-fast-food-counter statin along with a hamburger won’t do anything for you. 

For starters, Dr. Sinatra doesn’t see taking a statin—even when prescribed on a regular basis—as smart medicine for heart disease prevention. The saturated fat issue is a relic of dark-age medicine when they thought that saturated fat produced cholesterol. It doesn’t and it’s been proven that it doesn’t. 

It’s excess sugar that causes coronary heart disease, not fat. Sugar produces a pro-inflammatory reaction in the body, thickens the blood, and causes adrenal stress. The real danger for fast foodies? The sodas and other ridiculous supersized drinks that pack 40 teaspoons of sweeteners!

Unfortunately, neither a fistful of good supplements nor any a drug can totally cancel out a bad diet and overeating. And how can one dose offset one indiscretion? Better to just select the lowest fat option you can if you are going in for a fast food meal, savor it, and go back to a healthy diet.

But if you want REAL tips on navigating fast food restaurants more mindfully, grab a copy of The Fast Food Diet, co-authored by Dr Sinatra. There are more healthy fast food options if you know how to find them, and you won’t need a designer drug condiment to wash them down!

For real advice on cardiovascular nutrition and preventing cardiovascular problems, visit Dr. Sinatra’s Web site.

DISCLAIMER: The content of is offered on an informational basis only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health provider before making any adjustment to a medication or treatment you are currently using, and/or starting any new medication or treatment. All recommendations are "generally informational" and not specifically applicable to any individual's medical problems, concerns and/or needs.

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