No great surprise to learn (or hear again) that I am not a fan of big Pharma. Often, I think most of my motivation to follow the lifestyle I do, is in hopes of avoiding medication. I don’t trust it and more importantly, I don’t trust the people who make em. Just last night, the news reported some serious problems with the drug Avandia, taken for type-2 diabetes. Apparently, thought it might help with your diabetes, it puts people at an increased risk for heart attacks.
But my single biggest issue has always been with the statins. I have always questioned whether “lowering your cholesterol readings” actually lowers your risk of heart attacks. It makes sense that it would, and it would be wonderful if that were the case, but it has never made sense that you could keep eating foods loaded with cholesterol and the pill would make it all OK. That would make it “too good to be true,” and we have all learned that if something seems “too good to be true,” it’s probably NOT! Of course, when taking a statin it is suggested to eat well and exercise regularly, but how many just take the pill and hope for the best. Since most doctors want to push the statins (no doubt because of the incentives from big PHARMA) I have even heard some say “I take it and my cholesterol isn’t even high.”
When Mitch’s cholesterol was “borderline,” I suggested he ask our internist this: “I realize that the statin lowers the levels in blood work, but is there proof that it will prevent ME from having a heart attack?” Mitch has NO other risk factors for heart disease. His dad’s heart is healthy as can be at almost 82. His mom did not have heart disease. Mitch is not overweight, he isn’t sedentary and he doesn’t smoke cigarettes. Our doctor, wisely, said she would have to get back to him on that. His cardiologist basically said get your ass in the gym and watch what you eat and stay off the meds for as long as you can. Have I mentioned how much I love Dr. Gary Garfield?
So I wasn’t at all even mildly surprised this morning when I read the article titled:
STUDIES ABOUT STATINS RAISE QUESTIONS BUT OFFER FEW ANSWERS
A meta-analysis-a review of previous studies- published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that statins do NOT lower death rates among patients who have risk factors but show no evidence of cardiovascular disease and take then as a preventative measure. (There is a separate study that suggests that for men who have undergone surgery for prostate cancer, it might reduce the chance of recurrence). A third article, also published in the Archives, raised questions about the financial and professional motives of the medical researchers who conducted studies (that suggest another statin WOULD work).
These new reports suggest that “statins’ effectiveness in this area has been limited, at best, to preventing non fatal heart attacks, while FAILING to budge rates of fatal ones.” Dr. Golomb, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, said the studies “supports what we should already have known- that for patients without established heart disease, statins are more risky than helpful.”
Now, here’s the big dilemma. As I read The China Study, (with awe) I am reminded of how bad high cholesterol might be for us. It not only is an indicator of heart disease, but according to the research in the book, also cancer and probably some of the other BIG diseases. So what is a person to do?
Obvioulsy exercising most every day is a great way to keep cholesterol numbers in check. So is avoiding animal products. Sorry, I had to say it. The articles I read regarding the statins, confirm every wacky, skeptical idea I have ever had about them. (There have been years of frustration until these more recent studies started to become available). I have also questioned the role of animal products on our health, for years. Thankfully, Dr. Campbell and his peers did the research. I know I am NOT crazy, though many may still beg to differ.
Thanks, Lesley, for going out and buying a copy of The China Study and letting me know. Rita, why don’t you let me just bring you a copy on Friday? Carole, I would have sent you a copy if I knew about it when I sent your present! I am glad you had a wonderful birthday!!!!
Let me finish by saying I am NOT NOT NOT suggesting a strict plant-based diet for anyone but me. I am just suggesting we all are open-minded enough to read and learn. I had a conversation with a very bright, well educated woman yesterday, whom I adore, regarding protein consumption. Protein is nothing more than a chain of amino acids. We can find it in lots of foods we don’t think of as protein sources. For example, 2 ounces of pasta (I eat whole wheat) has 7 grams of protein. Most people eat about 4 ounces, so that would be 14 grams if you added nothing to it. Americans have been brainwashed into thinking the more protein, the better off they are. I believe as long as we are getting the nutrients we need to make those chains of amino acids complete (assorted veggies, grains and legumes do that as do animal products) we are best off keeping our protein levels just about where we need them for good health. As a round number, that’s about 50 grams a day, but again, do your own research. Too much animal protein (which is high in fat, high in cholesterol and high in calories) might just be the reason we are and unhealthy and overweight society!
Sorry for going on a rant this week. It makes me crazy to watch people sick or even worse, when there just might be a dietary solution. Listen, I am 100% sure we are all going to die. I am also reasonably sure we have A LOT of control over our health while we are still alive!
Think about it.