Just Give Me a Pill and Pass the Cheeseburger

One of the things I always discuss with my patients is the importance of staying true to better eating habits when taking cholesterol-lowering medications.

A lot of people become complacent about their nutrition habits when they “go on the pill”, because no matter what they eat, their cholesterol numbers are perfect. 

But what we eat affects not only our cholesterol. Poor diet can also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity — as well as dementia, depression and cancer.

The analogy I like to use is wallpaper over crumbling walls. If I’m putting you on a medication to control a nutrition-related risk factor, but you are not doing your part to improve what you eat, all I’m doing is putting very pretty, and often very expensive, wallpaper over crumbling walls. It may look good, but the structure is not fundamentally any better than when we started.

And this is how we eventually get to the scenario that I see far too often in my practice. People on medication lists so long they fill up a whole page. These folks look awful. They feel awful. But their “numbers” are perfect.

Medications should be the adjunct to care, not the primary solution. Our goal should be to take fewer meds not more. The only way to achieve this is to optimize, as best as you can, how you live your life and especially what you eat.

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