Once diagnosed with high cholesterol, many people run to their doctor to get a prescription for a statin drug that will take care of the problem. And if that's not option one, looking for American Heart Association recommendations to help with their diet surely is.
Add Dr. Barbara H. Roberts to the list of experts who is not only balking at these two pieces of advice, but warning against it.
Barbara H. Roberts, M.D., is author of the book The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs and Director of the Women's Cardiac Center at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.
If you think cholesterol-lowering drugs are safe because they have FDA approval … think again.
Every week in my practice I see patients with serious side effects to statins and many did not need to be treated with statins in the first place.
These side effects range from debilitating muscle and joint pain to transient global amnesia, neuropathy, cognitive dysfunction, fatigue and muscle weakness.
Most of these symptoms subside or improve when they are taken off statins. There is even growing evidence of a statin link to Lou Gehrig's disease.
Some of the risks and side effects like muscle pain and weakness have been highly publicized for years.
But more recently, the growing number of incidents with statin users suffering from memory loss and other cognitive issues finally led the FDA to announce changes to statin drug labels.
One of the other highly publicized tips for high cholesterol patients is to go on a low-fat diet and follow the guidelines of agencies like the American Heart Association.
But is that even the right thing to do?
Most Americans think of the American Heart Association as an altruistic organization that's unbiased in looking out for our best interests.
Dr. Roberts wants you to realize some of the behind-the-curtain details you might not be aware of…
For years, the AHA preached the gospel of the low-fat diet, calling it the "corner-stone" of its dietary recommendations though there was, and is, no evidence of its benefit.
The AHA rakes in millions from food corporations for the use of its "heart-check mark." Some of the so called heart healthy foods it has endorsed include Boar's Head All Natural Ham which contains 340 milligrams of sodium in a 2-ounce serving and Boar's Head EverRoast Oven Roasted Chicken Breast which contains 440 milligrams of sodium in a 2-ounce serving.
High sodium intake raises blood pressure which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, studies have shown that eating processed meat increases the risk of diabetes and atherosclerosis. (See entire story here.)
Why the American Heart Association would allow their "seal of approval" on any processed meat product should concern you … let alone a processed meat with such sky-high levels of sodium.
You need to remember that much of the information on labels is there for marketing purposes … enticing you to buy … and should not be taken at face value or trusted as "health gospel".
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