Fitness – Not Enough
Bob Harper looks fantastic! He has hosted the first sixteen seasons of “The Biggest Loser,” one of the most successful TV shows today. His workout is called “Black Fire.” The promotion for his training shows a picture of salmon and a glass of (presumably) low-fat milk. He tells people who are buying his training package, that he can tell them the right “balance of protein, carbs, and fats.” His website calls him one of the most successful lifestyle experts in the world. On February 12, 2017 he had a massive heart attack while working out at his gym in New York City. He collapsed while working out and was revived by a doctor who was at the gym using a defibrillator and CPR. He was unconscious in the hospital for two days. How did it happen? Here’s a clue – one of his favorite breakfasts was a recipe for Eggs Florentine which includes a yogurt-based Hollandaise sauce and between four and six eggs. Do you really think the problem with this recipe is the muffin?? Some of his other fitness recipes – Avocado toast with four egg whites, Avocado and Tuna Salad with two avocados and four cans of tuna, Low-carb zucchini noodles with chicken breast, avocado and parmesan cheese. If you’ve noticed the pattern here, you can see that his diet includes loads of fat and animal protein. All of these recipes were included in his book, Skinny Meals. So either he ate the foods he recommends or he didn’t. We can’t say for sure. But if he did eat those foods, they certainly didn’t protect him from a massive heart attack at age 51. Had the doctor not been there, his first symptom of heart disease would likely have been his last. The saddest part of the story is that now Bob is blaming genetics for his heart attack. But entire populations of people all around the world have been essentially heart attack free for thousands of years. Doctors didn’t even recognize heart attacks as a disease until the 19th century, so it is almost impossible that this is a primarily genetic condition. Instead, a diet of eggs, dairy products and fish is clearly adequate to raise cholesterol high enough to result in heart disease. Unfortunately, this is the diet that Americans turn to when they want to “get healthy.” It doesn’t work. It can’t, because it doesn’t get rid of the saturated fats and cholesterol that are the cause of heart disease. Most importantly, I want to stress that a focus only on how you look, regardless of how you get there is also dangerous. If you are healthy, with healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, you exercise regularly, get enough sun and feel wonderful, isn’t that enough? It really isn’t that big of a deal if your body doesn’t meet the current fashion standard for your age and gender. Looking good feels great, but feeling good is even better! The best diseases states are the ones you don’t have. Primary prevention of heart disease starts with diet. Exercise capacity and fitness can’t do it alone.