How Bill Clinton Lost Weight With This “#1 Best Weight Loss Plan”

By on August 2, 2013
Worried about your heart–and your weight? Then you may want to follow the diet of former president Bill Clinton: The vegan diet.

“I just decided that I was the high-risk person, and I didn’t want to fool with this anymore. And I wanted to live to be a grandfather,” says Clinton to AARP, who faced a health scare in 2010 following complications of quadruple-bypass surgery. “So I decided to pick the diet that I thought would maximize my chances of long-term survival.”

As president, even Clinton will admit he had a hearty appetite–his diet was heavy with red meats and dairy–but since making the switch 4 years ago, he’s thankful to have given up his less-than-healthy eating habits.

In turn, he’s dropped a staggering 30 pounds and feels more energetic to boot–an energy that not even staffers half his age can keep up with.

“I wanted to do it because this health and wellness work I’ve been doing is increasingly important to me,” says Clinton. “The main thing that was hard for me actually–much harder than giving up meat, turkey, chicken and fish–was giving up yogurt and hard cheese.”

Why the Vegan Diet Works

While making the switch to cruelty-free foods worked for Clinton, will it work for you? According to Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., it could.

“A vegetarian diet is not inherently a weight-loss diet but rather a lifestyle choice,” says Zeratsky. “It is true, however, that adults and children who follow a vegetarian diet are generally leaner than nonvegetarians. This may be because a vegetarian diet typically includes less saturated fat and emphasizes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant-based proteins–foods that are more filling and less calorie dense.”

This evidence–and much more–is also supported by a 2007 study published in the journal Obesity, which found that a vegan diet was more successful than a low-fat diet when it came to weight loss. Those who kept their diet free of animal products were able to lose more weight–and keep it off longer.

“The objective was to assess the effect of a low-fat, vegan diet compared with the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) diet on weight loss maintenance at 1 and 2 years,” say researchers. “A vegan diet was associated with significantly greater weight loss than the NCEP diet at 1 and 2 years.”

And with an associated lower risk of health problems that often occur as you age, such as heart disease and stroke, veganism seems like the logical choice for older Americans. But, like Zeratsky pointed out, it doesn’t always guarantee easy weight loss. She says that some cruelty-free food choices, such as french fries, cake, or sweetened colas, may be vegan-friendly but also pack plenty of calories and fat–not exactly great fanfare for dieters.

Bottom line: Restricting your food intake is still necessary if you go the vegan route–especially if you eat like Clinton.

“The former president is now a devoted vegan, meaning no meat, fish or dairy products, and he has pursued a healthier way of life for more than three years,” says Joe Conason, who interviewed Clinton for AARP.

Readers: Have you tried veganism or vegetarianism before? How did it work out for you?

Bill Clinton’s Vegan
Vegetarian Diet Better than Low-Fat
Does the Vegetarian Diet Result in Weight Loss?

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