La Peer Surgeon Talks about New Cholesterol Guidelines and Calorie Counts at Restaurants with Good Day LA

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Sonu Ahluwalia, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at La Peer Health System in Los Angeles, goes on Good Day LA recently to explain the new recommendations for cholesterol drugs and the effect of calorie counts at restaurants.

Sonu Ahluwalia MD
It comes to lowering cholesterol we used to focus on numbers.

Dr. Sonu Ahluwalia, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at La Peer Health Systems in Los Angeles, went on Good Day LA Monday November 18, 2013. During his weekly segment, Dr. Ahluwalia talked about two health topics in the news: the new guidelines regarding cholesterol lowering statins and the effectiveness of calorie counts on restaurant menus.

“When it comes to lowering cholesterol we used to focus on numbers,” said Dr. Ahluwalia. “This often led to patients getting extra medication they didn’t need. Now, it’s more than just a number.”

Dr. Ahluwalia explained that if you already have heart disease, have suffered a stroke, or have diabetes you should automatically be on cholesterol lowering statins. Also, anyone who has a certain quantifiable risk (7.5% down from 20%) of having a heart attack within 10 years should now be on a statin.

In addition to discussing the new guidelines for cholesterol drugs, Dr. Ahluwalia spoke about a new study looking at the minimal effect restaurant menu calorie counts had on people.

“What’s fascinating about this study is that only about 40% of people paid attention to the calorie counts, and only about 10% changed their ordering habits based on the published calorie counts,” said Dr. Ahluwalia.

However, Dr. Ahluwalia also pointed out that the group that was studied tended to eat at fast food restaurants 5-7 times a week, meaning the conclusions drawn from this data might not apply to all restaurant patrons.

“If you eat a cheeseburger every day,” said Dr. Ahluwalia, “you’re probably not going to pay attention to calorie counts. You’re going to order your cheeseburger.”

In the end, Dr. Ahluwalia said he believed that despite the limitations to posting calorie counts at restaurants, they are ultimately useful.

Sonu Ahluwalia, M.D. is Board Certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and is a fellow of the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and has privileges at Olympia Medical Center along with many ambulatory surgery centers, including La Peer.

Dr. Ahluwalia was born in New Delhi and grew up in India. He attended medical school at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College in India before moving to the United States in 1993. He received his medical training in Boston and New York until 2003 when he went into private practice in Beverly Hills. Dr. Ahluwalia has been featured on television programs such as Fox 11 Los Angeles, Oxygen, Extra, Time: Health & Family and the Today Show for his expertise in orthopedic surgery.

La Peer Health Systems is an outpatient surgery center in Beverly Hills, founded by doctors and focused on providing excellent patient care alongside the most cutting-edge medical treatments available. With 50 world-renowned physicians in 14 specialties, comprehensive medical treatment is offered that takes patients from consultation to diagnosis, treatment, surgery, and ultimately aftercare. The 14 medical departments include orthopedics & sports medicine, gastroenterology, head & neck surgery, colorectal & general surgery, podiatry, ophthalmology, pain management, plastics & reconstructive surgery, gynecology, spine surgery, interventional cardiology, bariatric surgery, thoracic surgery, and anesthesiology. Unlike large hospitals, La Peer's unique structure offers extremely personal care in a safe and controlled environment.

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Risa Luksa

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