Clinton's recent quadruple bypass surgery has been largely debated. Being on the South Beach Diet made everybody wonder how the former president's illness advanced so much as to need to be surgically corrected. Some even blame it on the diet. Some wonder why the diet didn't help avoiding surgery.
Fact is that, first of all, being on the South Beach Diet for a relatively short time or being on any other diet couldn't work miracles and suddenly reverse atherosclerosis. It is true that recent clinical trials have indicated that with a reduced cholesterol level, reduced weight and regular exercise heart disease may regress but a longer period of time is required to restore what was built in decades. Studies show that coronary artery disease starts as early as childhood progressing throughout adolescence and childhood.
Then, there were other factors sure to worsen Clinton's condition. In heart disease there are several risk factors that cannot be changed: age, heredity, gender. Older males with a family history of heart disease are more likely to suffer from it, and Bill Clinton fit the profile.
Stressful life contributed to a great extent to his illness, although he is known to exercise regularly. Among other benefits, exercise helps relieving of stress. But the former president overlooked other important aspects. His fondness for smoking and unhealthy foods worsened the situation. Since he started the South Beach diet he lost weight. Probably if dieting had been one of his priorities earlier in his life, his health would have improved substantially. Unfortunately, it seems that his doctors were not that persuasive! The result was that surgery was needed to prevent a heart attack.
Following the South Beach Diet (in a low-sodium version) on a long term basis, accompanied by an exercise routine and quitting smoking would be likely to help the former president to improve his health after his release from the hospital.