Ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton Goes Vegan, Says He’s Lost 20+ Pounds

Written by Michael Lambarde on Aug. 19, 2011

Junk food-loving ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton says he has taken up a new vegan diet that has already had help drop over 20 pounds — but says he his goal weight will be 185lbs. The popular former president of much of the 90s says that the goal weight will put him around what he weighed when he was 13-years-old.

Clinton, 58, whose diet has mostly consisted of junk food for much of his life, says that his diet now consists of fruits and vegetables with meats, dairy, eggs, and most oil products ruled out.

The interview was taken with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. When he was asked whether he now considers himself a vegan, he replied: “well, I suppose I am”.

Clinton says that the changes came by the recommendation of his doctor and said that counting calories and trying to cut back on cholesterol wasn’t cutting it. The healthy lifestyle changes also come nearly six years after he underwent a quadruple bypass surgery after he experienced tightness in his chest. He once again underwent another procedure last year and says that he soon after became a vegan.

Clinton’s doctor in question, Dr. Dean Ornish — who worked with the White House chefs during Clinton’s administration, told CNN that “because of [Clinton’s] genetics, moderate changes in diet and lifestyle weren’t enough to keep his disease from progressing.”

“I essentially concluded that I had played Russian roulette,” Clinton told CNN about the lifestyle changes. “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.”