President Clinton Still Vegan

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Bill Clinton on CNN's The Last Heart Attack
Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Bill Clinton on CNN’s “The Last Heart Attack”
Source: (accessed August 26, 2011)

Former President Bill Clinton remains vegan after first going meat-free in 2010. Veganism is a strict form of a vegetarian diet that excludes any animal products including meat, eggs, and dairy products. Clinton’s decision to adhere to a vegan diet followed a heart procedure in 2010 where he had two stents implanted to open a vein from his 2004 bypass surgery.

In an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Clinton explained, “I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette because even though I had changed my diet some and cut down on the caloric total of my ingestion and cut back on much of the cholesterol in the food I was eating, I still — without any scientific basis to support what I did — was taking in a lot of extra cholesterol without knowing if my body would produce enough of the enzyme to support it, and clearly it didn’t or I wouldn’t have had that blockage. So that’s when I made a decision to really change.”

In addition to losing over 20 pounds, Clinton says that he feels healthier after switching diets. “All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy.”

The health benefits of a strict vegan diet are not universally recognized. Clinical nutrition specialist Stephen Byrnes, PhD, RNCP, wrote in his Jan. 2002 article “The Myths of Vegetarianism,” “[A]s a practitioner who has dealt with several former vegetarians and vegans (total vegetarians), I know full well the dangerous effects of a diet devoid of healthful animal products…”

Source: David S. Martin, “From Omnivore to Vegan: The Dietary Education of Bill Clinton,”, Aug. 18, 2011