Following years of heart problems, former President Bill Clinton is now vegan.
The former U.S. president told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta this week that he doesn’t eat any dairy, eggs or meat, and consumes very little oil. He first opened up about his new plant-based diet last year to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Clinton has turned to eating solely plants in order to keep weight off and his heart healthy.
Clinton — who used to be a huge fan of hamburgers, steaks and other foods of the like — underwent the diet overhaul to reverse the heart disease he’s been plagued with in the past. He underwent a quadruple bypass surgery in 2004 because blood flow was blocked to his heart, and just last year he had to have two stents put into his heart to “open up veins from his bypass surgery,” according to CNN.
Since his diet change, Clinton has lost more than 20 pounds, CNN reported.
There have been numerous studies linking a veggie-heavy diet with good heart health. For example, research shows that fewer vegetarians than meat-eaters have metabolic syndrome, a condition where you possess three of five heart-risk factors, Everyday Health reported. The factors include high blood pressure, triglycerides and blood sugar, low “good” cholesterol and a large waist size.
In addition, research shows that a nutrient-dense, vegetarian-based diet can lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Clinton joins the company of other vegan politicians and celebrities, including Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, actors Alicia Silverstone, Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman and Ellen Degeneres, writer Alice Walker, musicians Prince, Erykah Badu, Ian MacKaye and rapper André 3000, and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. Activists César Chávez and Coretta Scott King were also vegan.