was linked to diabetes today. Which is worse, diabetes or heart disease? Let”s go to the fast food restaurant, super size our meal and debate. Speaking of fast food joints, there”s another genius “pop-a-pill” solution buzzing around town, giving us yet another reason to continue to eat crap and not exercise. You wear a seat belt while riding in a car, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays, and brush your teeth to prevent cavities. So why not take a pill to prevent the cholesterol-raising effect of your favorite fast food burger and fries?  Even if only 1 percent of your brain is considering the idea, keep reading.

Researchers studied risk reduction strategies for people with high-fat eating habits from a new angle.  They looked at seven randomized control trials (a total of 50,000 participants) that had previously examined the ability of a daily statin medication to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by virtue of lowering cholesterol.  Statins are medications that are used to lower cholesterol, such as Lipitor. What they found was that using a daily statin demonstrated a risk reduction comparable to (and in many cases more powerful than) the potential increased risk of consuming a Quarter Pounder® with cheese and a small milkshake.

They then argued that since statins can dramatically reduce the risk of atherosclerosis — plaque buildup in arteries that is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke — it would be possible to work out a medication “tariff”  based on the harmfulness of various meals (e.g. a burger and milkshake).  Specifically, they argue that fast food restaurants could serve as a vehicle for prevention by giving a statin with meals to negate the atherogenic (cholesterol raising and blood vessel damaging) effect of the meals they sell.  Since the cost of statin drugs is so low, providing them to customers for free would be akin to giving away those extra ketchup packets.

Of course, what a free cholesterol-lowering statin can’t do is take away the toxic consequences of the other components of regular fast-food meals.  Fast food contains excess calories, which lead to obesity and increased risk for type 2 diabetes, as well as high amounts of sodium, which contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for stroke.

Herein lies the danger.  If we placate the desire for fast foods with a pill — or “sprinkle-on statins,” as the researchers suggest — we neglect to address the inherent problem.  People who regularly eat a diet based on vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy unsaturated fats and fruit will be healthier than individuals who “neutralize” their regular fast food habit with statins.  These researchers have proven that they understand the plight of those who love fast food, but their cheeky recommendation is one that may help us win an individual battle — but still lose the war.


  1. avatar Spc002 says:

    If you’re going to light yourself on fire, might as well drink a gallon of gasoline…

  2. Pack it in, public health. Science has bested us.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    Dude, who comes up with this stuff?


  4. avatar anon says:

    moral hazard?

  5. avatar Anon says:

    if you included medications with the food you would have to list all the possible side effects of the medication with the wrapper or box the food came in.

    I can see it now:

    Happy meal

    Possible side effects: Depression, Diarrhea, Headache, Ulcer and so on

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Typical response of the “medical” world…don’t treat the problem just take a short-cut so you don’t really have to change your ways! Cause and effect. Short-cuts NEVER WORK and they always have undesirable side-effects.

  7. avatar roz says:

    Statin are so bad for you. The small positive affect on the body is nothing in comparison to the damage LONG TERM that any statin does. Read any scientific study on long term statin use

  8. […] Health Food – General Soy Foods : Comment on Fast Food Pharmacy: Pop a Pill With Your Big Mac by roz […]

  9. avatar MDG says:

    Who doesn’t still crave the occasional Big Mac with fries (MacDonalds has the best), but it still comes down to moderation on all levels, be it exercise, eating red meats, Coffee Coolatas, ice cream, or alcoholic drinks. Enjoy life but be honest with yourself.

  10. […] Fast Food Pharmacy: Pop a Pill With Your Big Mac Natural News: Pharmaburger documentary launches as episode one of Food Investigations […]

  11. […] rice’s active ingredients, called “monacolins”, are identical to those used in statin medications, and therefore have a similar cholesterol-lowering effect as found in the prescription version.  […]

  12. avatar melodyslatersla says:

    Im on the road all year long with my band..None of us are over weight or in bad health..even tho we eat in fast food joints every day,,,(we exercise and we eat in moderation)..I have a great Road Rock Fever Blog on My Space…what to eat and how to live on the road! Go to Melody Slater@My Space and check out..PEACE!!!!!!

  13. avatar chgoboy3020 says:

    Doctors ( and drug companies) have been shoving things like Vytorin and Lipitor for years. Big, BIG bucks for them. They tried to get me on it. I refused. Now look at all the damage they cause. Three mnoths ago my cholesterol was 231. I tried my own plan. For 3 months every morning I religiously had a bowl of homemade granola with rolled oats (ONLY oats are beneficial), flax seeds and sliced almonds. In addition I took one tablespoon of cod liver fish oil, one natural supplement of Cholestrice, and 500 mg of over-the-counter non-flushing Niacin. just got my numbers yesterday:

    Cholesterol from 231 down to 148. Triglycerides 139 down to 43. LDL from 155 down to 71. HDL (good cholesterol) from 45 up to 68. Hey doc…..NO THANKS to your big profit drugs!

  14. avatar davidomarine says:

    Do research on red yeast rice. This stuff has kept my cholesterol in check for years now. There are other

    options besides these “medications”

  15. avatar SeleneMathew says:

    Fast food lovers not only consume that food but along with it, they consume more fats, carbohydrates, sugars, less fruits, and non-starchy vegetables. In short, those who eat fast food, consumes some 187 more calories everyday that ultimately increases the weight till six pounds or more in a year.


  16. avatar MazarAli says:

    My sister & I have heard from our parents for years now about the concerns about sex, cancer, bad food, smoking, and drinking. We have been told to watch what we eat. Most of it has been good advice. But my parents are over protective. I eat what I want and I often eat hamburgers, pizza, sandwiches, and ice cream. I am not sure what a statin is but I don’t see why I need to worry about taking meds when I eat anyway. How stupid is that!! Who really cares in the first place. I love to exercise and play with my friends. I don’t do anythng stupid. I don’t think that we need to worry. Later!!

  17. […] one that may help us win an individual battle — but still lose the war.Read more at FYI Living: http://fyiliving.com/diet/special-diets/heart-healthy-diet/fast-food-pharmacy-pop-a-pill-with-your-b… Comment Have something to say on this? Add a comment Tags: fast food, lipitor, mcdonalds, […]

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    Good news: this website (======= http://www.wowougg.com =======) we has been updated and add products and many things they abandoned their increases are welcome to visit our website. Accept cash or credit card payments, free transport. You can try oh, will make you satisfied

  19. avatar luckymargaretfranco says:

    Those unhealthy foods plus statins, wow, I’m sure it will put you in a lot of trouble. You got to look at this article and it will help you avoid those and have a healthy lifestyle to have a longer life. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/20/the-truth-about-statin-drugs-revealed.aspx


About Tasha Gerken

Tasha is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She completed her Dietetic Internship at the NYU Langone Medical Center, NYU Pediatric Dental Clinic, and Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), a non-profit providing medical and social services to HIV+ individuals. Tasha's experience and interests focus on community health promotion and helping her clients build healthier relationships with food. She is well-versed in the world of food allergies, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, sports nutrition, nutrition during pregnancy and childhood nutrition. She loves going on food and wine adventures, supports local agriculture, and is an avid volleyball player.


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