Bob Harper is recovering from a recent heart attack that could have ended his life. But instead of enjoying a quiet path back to health, he's having to defend himself against online diet shamers.
Harper has been using Instagram to keep his followers updated on his progress as well as the food he is eating, based on his doctor's recommendations. On Friday, "The Biggest Loser" trainer enjoyed a lunch arranged by good friend and managing director of The Mercer Hotel in New York City, Gilles Stellardo, featuring mixed grains, vegetables and fish.
"I had such a special lunch today," Harper wrote on Friday. "I saw my friend @gillesnyc who runs my home away from home @mercerhotelnyc Gilles got the chef to make a heart healthy lunch and it was DELICIOUS!! I'm lucky to have such good friends."
The post sparked outrage from many of his vegan followers, as Harper has been following a mostly vegan diet throughout his recovery. Not only did some express anger over his pescatarian lunch, but commenters went as far as to say he would have another heart attack if he kept eating fish.
He addressed many of the haters directly in a separate post on Saturday, explaining that he is only seeking the advice of his doctors and that, although he would not be blocking those with a difference of opinion, he hopes people will respect his decisions.
"Today's lunch, I started with a split pea soup and went with the veggie burger with asparagus. On a side note, to all the vegans out there that follow me and tell me that I'm gonna have another heart attack if I continue to eat fish, PLEASE refrain from posting those awful comments. They are just plain hateful and mean. I will continue to do what my doctors feel is right for me in my situation, so please just unfollow me instead. In the words of one of my best friends, you do you and I'll do me."
Not only is it "mean" to say he would die from a heart attack by eating fish, it is also false.
"Fish is a good source of lean protein, and some are also a source of heart-healthy fats," Sarah Roger, registered dietitian at HelloFresh, told LIVESTRONG.COM. "When fish is prepared by a method that doesn't add saturated fat, such as broiling, baking or pan-searing with some olive oil (not butter), you have a great source of protein that is low in saturated fat." Roger noted that saturated fat is found in heavy foods like butter and red meat and is linked to heart disease.
"Fish, prepared with olive oil, does not have this same high saturated fat content. As well, fatty fishes like salmon are sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have shown to lower LDLs, the bad cholesterol linked to heart disease, and increase HDLs, the good cholesterol," Roger continued.
"Fish is also part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet that many physicians recommend. While vegan foods avoid all sources of saturated fat, fish can certainly be part of a heart-healthy diet."
We'd all be better off to take dietary advice from experts like Harper, his doctors and Roger rather than social-media commenters.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you think it's wrong that fans slam Harper because they don't agree with his food choices? Should he stop sharing photos of his meals to avoid these types of comments? Let us know in the comments!