Are you now on a statin drug and wonder if it’s okay to indulge in a lot of your favorite junk foods? Will a statin undo the harm of all that sugar and fat?
Junk food comes in all shapes and forms, but the common ingredient is processed sugar. This is the white death for the heart.
Your doctor put you on a statin to lower your “bad” cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
And perhaps you’ve had a recent lipid panel that shows a big improvement since taking the statin.
You’re now wondering if this means you can load up on the donuts, fast food, pie and ice cream.
It’s not unheard of for someone to say, “I’m on a statin now. I can eat all the junk I want.”
Imagine that: shoving down all that thick white-crust sausage pizza while the statin takes care of the rest. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
“Statins should never be thought of as a counter effect for eating poorly,” says Alvaro Waissbluth, MD, an Ohio-based heart surgeon board certified in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular diseases, and founder of Eat Tank, an educational nutrition initiative that provides simple tools and practical knowledge for better understanding food.
He continues, “Not any more than exercise is a counter effect for smoking. Decreasing your risk of heart attack by doing good ‘A’ should never be considered to enable you to go ahead and increase your risk by doing bad ‘B.’
“They do not offset each other to a net zero risk. All we have in our power is to control the variables that we can control.
“We can change what we eat, whether we smoke, whether we exercise and whether we take appropriate medications.
“We can’t change our genetics (i.e., are we born predisposed to heart disease?), our genetic gender, our age or the era in which we were born.
“So one might as well tip the scales as best as one can in one’s favor by maximizing the controllable variables.”
Are you thinking of taking a statin but have never done so before?
Statins lower the “bad” fat (lipid) content in the blood: LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
It may still be tempting to think, “Well, I’ll just start popping a statin drug every night and it will lower my cholesterol, which will give me a greater margin to eat baked goods!”
Statins will not oppose the damage caused by SAD: standard American diet — a diet replete with junk ingredients.
A junk food diet causes inflammation in the coronary arteries that can lead to major clogging.
Statins can lower the triglycerides and the LDL without stomping out that inflammation!
So what you have, then, is a lower content of bad lipids in the bloodstream, but the inflammation in the arteries is still there! And processed sugar is the biggest culprit.