Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MacEverything... including Drugs?

We commonly now add "Mc" or "Mac" to a lot of words to create a quick visual impression. McMansions come immediately to mind!

I recently read a post about MacStatins where the author of the post (Stephen Guyenet) quoted a PubMed study: "Routine accessibility of statins in establishments providing unhealthy food might be a rational modern means to offset the cardiovascular risk. Fast food outlets already offer free condiments to supplement meals. A free statin-containing accompaniment would offer cardiovascular benefits, opposite to the effects of equally available salt, sugar, and high-fat condiments. Although no substitute for systematic lifestyle improvements, including healthy diet, regular exercise, weight loss, and smoking cessation, complimentary statin packets would add, at little cost, 1 positive choice to a panoply of negative ones." Mr. Guyenet and I both hope this statement was not a serious suggestion for fast food joints!

However, since there are now low-dosage statin drugs available over the counter, how far fetched is it in reality?

As Mr. Guyenet said, it would be far cheaper for industrial foods to add statins to foods (or make them available along with the condiments) than to educate the populace on how to eat well. A variety of studies show cultures that don't eat industrial foods are almost free of heart attacks.

Here's Stephan's alternative proposal: "Rather than giving people statins along with their Big Mac, why don't we change the incentive structure that artificially favors the Big Mac, french fries and soft drink? If it weren't for corn, soybean and wheat subsidies, fast food wouldn't be so cheap. Neither would any other processed food. Fresh, whole food would be price competitive with industrial food, particularly if we applied the grain subsidies to more wholesome foods. Grass-fed beef and dairy would cost the same as grain-fed."

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