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Statin Use tied to Higher Fat and Calorie Consumption, Study Finds

Update Date: Apr 26, 2014 09:36 AM EDT

Statins are a group of drugs that work to lower cholesterol. Even though statins could be effective in helping people maintain their cholesterol levels, patients should also ideally work to improve their overall health by eating better and exercising more. In a new study, researchers examined the relationship between statin use and diet. They found that statin users are eating more fat and calories today than they were in the past.

"We believe that this is the first major study to show that people on statins eat more calories and fat than people on those medications did a decade earlier," study author Takehiro Sugiyama, a clinical fellow at the National Center for Global Health and Medicine in Japan, said.

For this study, the researchers examined patients who were prescribed statins from 2009 to 2010. They collected data on the patients diet and compared their diets to statin users 10 years ago. The researchers found that in 2009-2010, statin users ate 9.6 percent more calories and 14.4 percent more fat when compared to statin users in 1999-2000.

"Statins are used by about one-sixth of adults. We may need to re-emphasize the importance of dietary modification for those who are taking these medications, now that obesity and diabetes are important problems in society," said Sugiyama according to Medical Xpress.

Based on the findings, the researchers believe that patients today think that statins can reverse the side effects of eating foods high in fats and calories. The researchers stressed the importance of leading an overall health lifestyle regardless of statin use. Primary care physicians must continue to educate patients about the importance of eating well and staying active. These medications are meant to help patients deal with their health, "not to empower them to put butter on steaks," Sugiyama added.

The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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