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Health note: People taking statins eat more calories than a decade ago, study says

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Statins lead to more eating, study says

People who took statins to lower their cholesterol levels ate more calories and fat in 2009-10 than did those who took them a decade earlier, raising the question of whether the drug provides a false sense of dietary security.

Researchers who used data from a national health survey found that in 1999-2000, people who took statins ate fewer calories, by an average of 179 a day, and less fat than people who didn’t take them. The differences began to shrink, and by 2005-06, the difference was insignificant.

And by 2009-10, statin users had increased their daily calories by 9.6 percent and their fat intake by 14.4 percent over the decade. Those not taking statins did not have a significant change, the researchers said. The increase of body mass index — a measure of obesity calculated by comparing weight and height - also was greater for people who took statins than those who did not.

Diet modifications and medications are used to lower cholesterol levels as ways to prevent heart disease and other conditions.

“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 Takehiro Sugiyama, who led the research while a visiting scholar at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


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