August 15, 2010

Ketchup? Salt? Statin?

Monique Chartier

From Friday's Washington Times via the Daily Caller.

As a public service, British researchers are proposing that fast-food eateries dole out complimentary cholesterol-lowering statin drugs to offset the hazardous glories of their fatty cuisines.

“When people engage in risky behaviors like driving or smoking, they’re encouraged to take measures that minimize their risk, like wearing a seat belt or choosing cigarettes with filters. Taking a statin is a rational way of lowering some of the risks of eating a fatty meal,” said Dr. Darrel Francis, a cardiologist at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

A couple of thoughts.

At what point do we go from promoting public health to shielding people, in such a casual fashion, from the consequences of their bad behavior? Take this pill (which, itself, has side effects) so you can go on thoughtlessly consuming an unhealthy diet.

And the part of me that upon occasion scans the horizon for black helicopters can't help thinking that this would be the camel's nose under the food wrapper: that it's a short step from offering a statin as an optional side to including a dose of it in all Big Macs and Whoppers ... and then on from there to pick-a-medicine (and not just vitamins) being involuntarily added to an array of mass produced foods. Why not? It would be for the health of the public.

... or perhaps I should cancel that order for horizon-scanning binoculars. But put me down as uneasy, at a minimum, about the casual distribution of heavy duty medicines at the take-out counter.

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Statins are not innocuous drugs.They can have serious interactions with other medications and can cause liver and kidney failure in certain individuals,the latter as a result of rhabdomyolosis,a very severe potential side effect.
Periodic liver function tests are necessary when taking statins long term.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 15, 2010 7:59 PM

The increase in obesity has a strong correlation with the introduction and increase of use of high fructose corn syrup in so many foods.

It is easy to say that people should take responsibility for what they consume. Of course they should. But, they have also been sold on the idea that the stuff they are eating is ok. It isn't. The problems associated with obesity are going to become a huge cost factor in health care. And, it is generally preventable.

Not all sugars are alike:
High Fructose Corn Syrup

Posted by: Robert Balliot at August 15, 2010 8:04 PM


President Reagan, during his onslaught against social programs in his first year in office, wanted to cut child nutrition programs by a third. To meet his goal of reducing the size and cost of school lunches, Reagan proposed that ketchup be considered a vegetable. The proposal was roundly criticized, and some anti-Reagan protesters took to chanting, "Ketchup is a condiment — Reagan is a vegetable."

Even many Republicans were appalled. Sen. John Heinz of Pennsylvania (a member of the H.J. Heinz Co. family) called the Reagan definition of ketchup "one of the most ridiculous regulations I ever heard of, and I suppose I need not add that I know something about ketchup and relish — or did at one time."

Posted by: Sammy at August 15, 2010 8:20 PM

It wasn't Reagan-it was a subordinate who made that asinine remark.
When we lived in Illinois my wife found out that on"McDonald's Day" at our local school when kids could buy burgers,etc at school,the kids on free lunch were served "mustard sandwiches"-two slices of bread with mustard.She suggested they charge each kid a little more and then everyone could have burgers-my wife is anything but a socialist-but she(and I) agreed that singling out grade school kids because they can't afford something as simple as a hamburger sucks.
Anyway,she decided that our kids could just brown bag it.
I never saw crap like that in NYC.
I did have a weird lunch experience though-I was dating a girl who was Puerto Rican and lived out of district-she had dyslexia and her school didn't have the classes she needed.She got free lunch every day.It was really dumb because her parents owned a bodega(Spanish grocery),but apparently the officials in our school assumed that if she was Puerto Rican she must be poor.
My high school was about 60/40 White/Black with only a handful of Hispanics.Black kids definitely didn't get automatic free lunch.Same for Whites.BTW she's not the one I married.She did ok later in life-she had a good job where she didn't have to read anything.I digress.Sorry.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 15, 2010 8:43 PM

What is the reality of the "obesity crisis"? Are there any hard facts? Is it more number crunching like AGW?

Whenever I hear of McDonalds being the culprit, I am reminded of my daughter at summer camp. She was warned against eating at McDonalds because "They were destroying the rain forest where the cure for cancer was hidden". Remember rain frest destruction, that was right before AGW, or was it "acid rain"? or was it cyclamates?, or was it the "killer bees"? It is so hard to keep track anymore. I am pretty sure it was after the "500,000 missing children".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 15, 2010 8:55 PM

I only mentioned McDonald's in the context of the rotten school policy.We frequently take my granddaughter there and she's thin and active.

Posted by: joe bernstein at August 16, 2010 6:41 AM

" Taking a statin is a rational way of lowering some of the risks of eating a fatty meal,” said Dr. Darrel Francis"

You know what's another rational way?


Posted by: Patrick at August 16, 2010 10:15 AM

Lots of responses, but what about hard numbers? Has there been any actual increase in obesity? I can remember the "food programs" of the early 70's and the constant observation that lower income people were fatter and that government supplied fod was laden with lard.

I also remember Patty Hearst's ransom, which was to be paid in food. The Hearst family offered to oblige. It was declined by the SLA because it wasn't steak.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 16, 2010 1:11 PM