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Hillary and Bill Clinton vote for Dr. Hyman's sugar-free detox diet

Hillary Clinton hopes to diet her way to the White House.
Hillary Clinton hopes to diet her way to the White House.
Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Dieting may not seem like a political act initially. But when you consider the fat-shaming that Chris Christie faced prior to his weight loss surgery, you might want to reconsider that assumption. Preparing for a 2016 presidential contest, Hillary Clinton is teaming up with her husband Bill to clean up their diets with the help of a weight loss guru, reported the New York Times on Friday.

The guru: Dr. Mark Hyman, who began working with the former president after his headline-making quadruple bypass surgery. Although some experts advise vegan diets for those who have had heart attacks, Dr. Hyman recommends the opposite. As a result, he began his work with Clinton by telling him to stop being a vegan.

Author of "The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body's Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast," Dr. Hyman disagrees with plant-based pundits such as Dr. John McDougall. Whereas the latter tells his patients to avoid animal protein (including fish), dairy and fats, Dr. Hyman takes a reverse approach. "It’s hard being a vegan to eat enough good, quality protein and not have too much starch," he warns.

And he disagrees with those who recommend plant-based diets for weight loss: "I know a lot of fat vegans," scoffs Dr. Hyman. Although Clinton often is still described as a vegan, he now eats fish and other lean proteins. Hillary has joined her husband, eating meals such as grilled salmon and fresh fruit when dining out.

The potential presidential candidate attracted attention for meeting publicly with Dr. Hyman, according to the New York Post. One of their three-hour dinner meetings included four Secret Service agents and two troopers, adding to speculation that Hillary was hoping to slim down in order to show off her health when she announced her candidacy.

So what precisely is the diet that the Clintons are following? Dr. Hyman bans all forms of sugar, citing studies that show sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. Rather than avoid fat or focus on a low-fat diet, as Clinton had been doing in his previous plant-based plan, Dr. Hyman views sugar as a menace.

In addition to avoiding sugar, Dr. Hyman recommends avoiding refined vegetable oils. He also advocates limiting or avoiding, depending on the individual's reaction, foods that contain gluten and dairy. As for that tofu on the former president's menu? Set it aside.

In addition to his detox diet book, Hyman authored "The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now." It includes an endorsement from Bill Clinton: "I've made drastic changes to my own diet and exercise routine since my heart troubles surfaced in 2004, and I hope Dr. Hyman’s new book will inspire you as he has inspired me." And although she didn't endorse the book, Hillary has been open about following the advice as well.

What impact will Dr. Hyman have on the Clintons if they return to the White House? During President Obama's tenure in the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama has been active in battling childhood obesity. She's encouraged families to exercise more and eat healthier foods with her "Let's Move" campaign. If his wife wins, will "First Husband" Bill Clinton follow suit?

His choice of Dr. Hyman may give a hint as to the importance that both the Clintons place on healthy living. Dr. Hyman presides over the Ultra Wellness Center, which focuses on helping patients achieve their weight loss goals and enhance their health. The center emphasizes the benefits of functional medicine, using whole foods and clean eating to promote well-being.

As a result, if Hillary Clinton does choose to win and runs, we may see an expansion of the First Lady's healthy living programs to place more emphasis on weight control for adults as well as children. And the campaign itself may include an emphasis on Hillary's current health and her diet. One guideline from Dr. Hyman that Hillary already follows: Carry healthy snacks with her.

While logging almost one million miles during her four years as secretary of state, Hillary was advised by Dr. Hyman to take high protein foods or snacks containing healthy fats with her. His recommendations include packets of macadamia nuts, walnut or coconut butter, grass-fed beef, turkey jerky and cans of wild salmon. Those low carb high fat (LCHF) Paleo diet snacks are designed to curb cravings and maintain energy levels.

It's a marked contrast to the diet advice that Bill Clinton initially followed after his heart attack. He initially used Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's plant-based, fat-free diet, documented in "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure." But with his shift to Dr. Hyman's diet prescription of animal protein and healthy fats, Clinton is joining an increasing number of older Americans who believe that sugar and starch, not fat or protein, is the culprit when it comes to both weight and heart health.

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