Why eating healthily really could save your life

Diets low in fat and sugar are ‘just as effective as statins in reducing the risk of heart attacks’

A healthy diet is just as effective as statins in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, scientists found. 

The daily pills – which cost less than 6p a day – offer the same amount of protection as a diet low in salt, fat and sugar, a study claims.

Both lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in the blood which helps to prevent strokes, heart attacks and heart disease.  

But despite the findings, statins should still be issued as the number one therapy, experts say.

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Non-statin therapies – such as a healthy diet – reduced the risk of heart problems by 25 per cent by cutting bad cholesterol levels, slightly more than statins, researchers found.

Researchers from Harvard University reviewed 49 previous trials which had more than 312,000 participants combined.

They noted 39,645 major vascular events had occurred and nine different interventions were used to lower LDL-C.

These therapies were then split into four groups, depending on how they worked to reduce LDL-C levels.

The authors found interventions which regulate cholesterol levels – such as statins – help to lower risks for cardiovascular events.

Each 1-mmol/L reduction in LDL-C was associated with a 23 per cent reduction in the risk of strokes or heart attacks.

While non-statin therapies – such as a healthy diet – reduced the risk of heart problems by 25 per cent for each 1-mmol/L decrease in LDL-C levels.

But despite the findings, statins should still be issued as the number one therapy, experts say.

Lead researcher Dr Marc Sabatine said: ‘The implications of these results deserve careful consideration in light of the strength of the available trial evidence for different types of therapies.’

But he said statins should remain the first-line therapy because of their low cost and proven benefit.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

This comes after research earlier this month found statins prevent at least 80,000 heart attacks and strokes in the UK every year.

Researchers from Oxford University said even more could be avoided if patients were given the cheap daily pills.  

But statins have been linked to severe muscle pain, type 2 diabetes, kidney damage, liver failure and even death in recent years.

 

Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3811391/Why-eating-healthily-really-save-life-Diets-low-fat-sugar-just-effective-statins-reducing-risk-heart-attacks.html