Bob Harper Inspires Cardiovascular Check-Up
Bob Harper, host of The Biggest Loser, recently suffered a heart attack. I’m happy that he is feeling better. I hope that by speaking out about his heart attack he inspires others to take steps to keep their hearts healthy. Following is my open letter to Bob.
We are thinking of you and wishing you a quick and easy recovery from your heart attack—and we are eager to help in any way we can. I know it took courage for you to tell the media yesterday that this happened. On The Biggest Loser and in your other work, you’ve educated and inspired millions of people on the benefits of exercise, and, along the way, you have also shown tremendous kindness and compassion for people whose motivation was slipping.
While you have said that family history influenced your heart attack, lifestyle choices play a role in the vast majority of heart attacks. That’s why we are eager to work with you to again educate and inspire everyone at risk.
When you began a vegan diet in 2010, animal fat and cholesterol were gone from your life, and healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans filled your menu. This diet, along with a healthy lifestyle, can reverse heart disease and helps prevent heart attacks. While no diet can make a person bullet-proof, getting away from animal products is as solid a decision as one can make.
When you modified this diet in 2013, you invited some animal products and their “bad fat” and cholesterol back onto your plate. Many people have been pushed to do the same by a commercially driven “fat is back” movement designed to lure people to unhealthful food products.
Let’s work together to let people know that foods do matter. Healthy foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans—can heal the heart, while meats, cheese, and other unhealthful foods put us at risk that all the exercise in the world cannot undo.
I wish you all the best as you get back on your feet and again bring a vital health message to people who need it.
Neal D. Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C.