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  1. #1
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Just fitness doesn't cut it...

    Being fit didn't stop Dave McGillivray from getting heart disease...

    "“I’m from that ‘Leave It to Beaver’ era,” he said. “You know, meat and potatoes. I was hard-core. That’s what I ate, what I lived on. I always felt like if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything. And I never really gained any weight, so I wasn’t showing signs that what I was eating was hurting me."

    From the Boston Herald:

    Dave McGillivray fights heart disease
    Running out of trouble

    A couple of days ago, I asked a friend if he knows who Dave McGillivray is.

    “Of course,” said my friend. “He’s the guy who runs.”

    That’s Dave McGillivray, all right. He’s the guy who runs.

    As in he once ran across the United States to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. As in he’s completed hundreds of marathons. And numerous Ironman competitions.

    http://bostonherald.com/sports/colum..._heart_disease
    Last edited by CbadRider; 01-06-14 at 10:29 AM. Reason: Copyright violation, please copy only a small amount of article and post a link to the original.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    I don't think it was meat and potatoes that caused him to have heart disease. I think it was too much marathon running...Marathon running is not healthy. The very first marathon runner died soon after he finished his run. Short intense exercise routine is a lot healthier then long hours of cardio and endurance. I am not against cardio, I do cardio, but what I am saying is keep it short and don't over do it. Too much exercise creates a lot of toxins and free radicals in the body. Marathon runners are not a good example of health and fitness they look like a bunch of dried up sticks.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    I don't think it was meat and potatoes that caused him to have heart disease. I think it was too much marathon running...Marathon running is not healthy. The very first marathon runner died soon after he finished his run. Short intense exercise routine is a lot healthier then long hours of cardio and endurance. I am not against cardio, I do cardio, but what I am saying is keep it short and don't over do it. Too much exercise creates a lot of toxins and free radicals in the body. Marathon runners are not a good example of health and fitness they look like a bunch of dried up sticks.
    I have to agree with you that marathon type exercise is NOT healthy...

    I worked the medical tent at the finish line of the Pittsburgh Marathon for a couple years. I came away being really negative about marathons -- because I saw some REALLY sick people in that tent. (I transported one young wife and her 6 month old child to a local hospital where they had shipped her husband -- she literally did not know if she would ever see him alive again -- fortunately, she did -- he had survived a body temperature of 109 degrees).

    Last year I got to watch it as a spectator -- and came away with a very different impression after watching the smiling faces crossing the finish line...

    But, I would not agree that marathon running will clog arteries... It's hard on the heart -- and can cause enlargement and arrhythmia's, but I would doubt that it will clog the arteries (which was his problem).
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    It would be interesting to see, in more detail, what exactly his diet was like. You don't read about many marathon runners who eat a meat and potatoes diet. Also what his family history of heart disease is. If you inherit bad genes diet and exercise won't necessarily save you from disease.

  5. #5
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    There really is only one solution to mortality, and that's to live your life as fully as you possibly can, every moment that you possibly can.
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  6. #6
    riding since '76
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    I don't know how anyone could completely avoid any saturated fat. That would mean no dark chocolate!
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    I don't think it was meat and potatoes that caused him to have heart disease. I think it was too much marathon running...Marathon running is not healthy. The very first marathon runner died soon after he finished his run. Short intense exercise routine is a lot healthier then long hours of cardio and endurance. I am not against cardio, I do cardio, but what I am saying is keep it short and don't over do it. Too much exercise creates a lot of toxins and free radicals in the body. Marathon runners are not a good example of health and fitness they look like a bunch of dried up sticks.
    Agreed. It's preferable to see the typical north american fattie than someone with low bodyfat.

    So your theory is the free radicals are clogging Dave's arteries?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    There's a big genetic component to susceptibility to heart and metabolic diseases. Maintaining appropriate body fat composition and doing the right amount and types of exercises can certainly help, but some will still die of heart disease, complications from diabetes, etc....

  9. #9
    Senior Member JerrySTL's Avatar
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    I'd like to know if he had a family history of heart problems. That's often the #1 indicator. You need to pick your parents well.

    Having said that, I had a heart attack in 2000 at age 46. It happened while riding my bike doing a 100% max effort racing my daughter up a steep long hill. My family history has no heart problems and I had no prior symptoms. Fortunately it was just one tiny artery and none of the big, bypass types. They can't even get to mine to do a stent so I just live with it and set my heart rate monitor to start beeping at 160 BPM and take a beta blocker. My diet isn't anywhere near perfect, but pretty good.

  10. #10
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    Marathon running (serious marathoners unlike many of the current trend whee people walk as much as run) is intense. But it's no more than serious cycling. By that I mean racing and hard training such as 4.5 hour centuries. There's no more danger to marathoning than any other intense activity. In this case the persons own statements showed he wasn't a healthy eater and no really competitor runner eats meat NAND potatoes regularly.
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  11. #11
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    There's a big genetic component to susceptibility to heart and metabolic diseases. Maintaining appropriate body fat composition and doing the right amount and types of exercises can certainly help, but some will still die of heart disease, complications from diabetes, etc....
    +1. It has always been a mistake to think that diet and exercise are guaranteed to prevent/reverse heart disease.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  12. #12
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    +1. It has always been a mistake to think that diet and exercise are guaranteed to prevent/reverse heart disease.
    True... There is never a guarantee -- especially in the land of the Large-Screen HD TV's, BigMac's and supersize it.

    ... But that doesn't mean that you can't change the odds (one way or the other!) with medication and lifestyle -- such as healthy eating (whatever the hell that is...), stress management, exercise and the like...

    I think the moral of this story is that you gotta' pay attention to all 'em -- not just the one's you like. It's not like in school where, if you got an "A" on one test and an "F" in another it averaged out to a "C". In cardiac health it averages out to an "F".

    This guy likes to run -- and he is apparently in top physical condition. Not many people can run their age at 20 much less 59. But he, by his own admission, ignored the other factors. Fortunately, he got a wake up call and a second chance. Not everybody is so lucky.
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  13. #13
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by springs View Post
    I don't know how anyone could completely avoid any saturated fat. That would mean no dark chocolate!
    I put butter and coconut oil in my morning coffee.

    I blame the potatoes.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I put butter and coconut oil in my morning coffee.

    I blame the potatoes.
    I blame the red meat -- but who knows? Or: Maybe it was chronic stress ???

    Organizing and running a major marathon is a high stress job that takes up much of a year. (And, that's not a guess, I was on the planning committee for the Pittsburgh Marathon -- it's incredible what all goes into one of those things...)
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  15. #15
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Marathon runners are not a good example of health and fitness they look like a bunch of dried up sticks.
    Not true in this case -- Dave McGillivray, back-in-day:



    I'm on board with the assesment that his "meat & potatoes" diet is the more likely culprit to have caused his heart blockages, than his athletic endeavors.

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Information rather than speculation can be found here:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0829114029.htm
    I know two very fast riders who now ride slower due to A-fib and ventricular issues. They are both over 70 and have always had very good diets. No meat and potatoes.

    I first heard this from a cardiologist I went to 10 years ago for advice. He was acquainted with some cycling team doctors. He was very much against fartlek. I discounted it at the time, because everyone else said the opposite - more is better. However, he has been proven right. Note that it's not just A-fib, it's also calcium deposits in and hardening of the coronary arteries.

    As the side links in the above article show, it's not so much doing the occasional long, hard ride or marathon. It's training so as to be able to compete in these events at a high level. With a lot of hard training, it is possible to maintain and/or repeat a high level of heart stress for a long time. That seems to be the problem.

  17. #17
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Information rather than speculation can be found here:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0829114029.htm
    I know two very fast riders who now ride slower due to A-fib and ventricular issues. They are both over 70 and have always had very good diets. No meat and potatoes.
    Is this the same thing as:

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    What McGillivray learned was that he had “multiple blockages and narrowing in a number of my arteries,” he said. “One was 70 percent, and the others were in the 40-50 range.

  18. #18
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Information rather than speculation can be found here
    and here

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/n...e-201304176083

  19. #19
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Information rather than speculation can be found here:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0829114029.htm
    I know two very fast riders who now ride slower due to A-fib and ventricular issues. They are both over 70 and have always had very good diets. No meat and potatoes.

    I first heard this from a cardiologist I went to 10 years ago for advice. He was acquainted with some cycling team doctors. He was very much against fartlek. I discounted it at the time, because everyone else said the opposite - more is better. However, he has been proven right. Note that it's not just A-fib, it's also calcium deposits in and hardening of the coronary arteries.

    As the side links in the above article show, it's not so much doing the occasional long, hard ride or marathon. It's training so as to be able to compete in these events at a high level. With a lot of hard training, it is possible to maintain and/or repeat a high level of heart stress for a long time. That seems to be the problem.
    That's true -- but the study is about arrhythmia's (and, by inference, hypertrophy) as a result of long and intense endurance training. While as an elite endurance athlete, it is likely that McGillivray had both of those conditions, that was not his problem. The problem is the plaque clogging his arteries -- and that was most likely caused by things other than his running -- maybe the meat, maybe the potatoes, or maybe the stress, or maybe his genetics -- but not his running.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    I don't know of the others, but Dr Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic did some good work on TMAO and linked it to certain intestinal bacteria that are fed, not only by red meat, but also by eggs...

    BTW, he also showed fairly convincingly that TMAO IS, in fact, linked to heart disease. He did NOT say that it replaces the cholesterol hypothesis. Rather, he suggested that it aids the cholesterol in invading the endothelium (although his research was less convincing on that point).

    Interestingly, he refuses to suggest that his studies show that you should avoid eating either red meat or eggs. But, in a question and answer session I got to ask him how many eggs HE eats -- and his answer was: maybe a few in baked goods -- but (except for some deviled eggs at a wedding), he couldn't remember the last time he had eggs per se.
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  21. #21
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Rodents are particularly poor animals to use for dietary studies. They metabolize, store, and use dietary inputs very differently than humans. That said, I would suggest avoiding L-Carnatine supplements.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    That's true -- but the study is about arrhythmia's (and, by inference, hypertrophy) as a result of long and intense endurance training. While as an elite endurance athlete, it is likely that McGillivray had both of those conditions, that was not his problem. The problem is the plaque clogging his arteries -- and that was most likely caused by things other than his running -- maybe the meat, maybe the potatoes, or maybe the stress, or maybe his genetics -- but not his running.
    As the link I gave stated:
    Chronic excessive sustained exercise may also be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening.
    Quote Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
    Is this the same thing as:
    I don't know - don't have his autopsy report here.

  22. #22
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    A very informative google is:
    "science daily endurance heart disease"

    Read everything that comes up from SD, including the sidebar links.

  23. #23
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
    There really is only one solution to mortality, and that's to live your life as fully as you possibly can, every moment that you possibly can.
    This is really it... I figure that every day past 45 where something doesn't ache a little is a good one.

  24. #24
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    "Chronic excessive sustained exercise may also be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening"

    I would have to disagree with that for that two reasons:

    1) While the evidence between "excessive sustained exercise" and hypertrophy and arrhythmia is fairly strong, it is weak for "coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction, and large-artery wall stiffening".

    2) And, again, even if it were, that is not his problem. His problem is plaque clogging his cardiac arteries.

    So, sorry, there is no evidence that we can attribute the plaque in McGillivray's arteries to his running. If anything, the running probably helped him (in that regard) rather than hurt him. As he reports:

    "...meat and potatoes. I was hard-core. That’s what I ate, what I lived on. I always felt like if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything..."

    He thought his running would compensate for a poor diet. He now knows that that was a bad assumption:

    "Since receiving the test results in October, McGillivray has avoided red meat and “anything and everything that has any saturated or trans fats in it.” He has been taking medication. And he has been making regular visits to his doctor."
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  25. #25
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    We haven't even mentioned chronic inflammation. This is often related to metabolic syndrome and has a huge negative effect on arterial walls among other things. We don't know if this guy has dealt with either chronic inflammation or metabolic syndrome, but it's worth asking the question.

    Certainly, continuous, long-duration aerobic exercise can feed into an inflammatory state. A diet that induces high insulin levels is generally associated with metabolic syndrome and systemic inflammation. This isn't caused by "hardcore steak and potatoes" (whatever the hell that means). In fact, I'd say it probably has little to do with any minimally processed food, regardless of the macronutrient composition.
    Austin doesn't have hippies. They have slightly rebellious Methodists. - Racer Ex

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