Stressed-out gluttons have new reason to sympathize with Obama after White House senior advisor David Axelrod talked a little too openly about the POTUS' pastry weakness during a recent "Tonight Show" appearance. Has Obama "become a stress eater?" asks Donna Kaufman at iVillage. Here, a look at what the president's eating, and how his gustatory habits could be affecting his health:
Does the president have a history of pigging out?
Not at all. By most accounts, he's a model of "abstemious" eating: On the campaign trail, says Newsweek, he had "salmon, rice, and broccoli" for dinner almost every night. Reporters joked that they'd "eat their Blackberries" if they saw him succumb to any of the many cheeseburgers or pancakes thrown at him along the way. His concept of a snack was more rabbit-like than reckless: "A mix of nuts, seeds and raisins, washed down with organic berry tea."
Has he loosened his dietary standards since?
According to Axelrod, the president loves pie — so much that the First Family had to "part ways" with a talented White House pastry chef shortly after Obama moved in. "It became a big problem," Axelrod told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, "so they had to separate." The president's hardly shy about his love for the lard-laden treat: He ordered rhubarb pie in an Iowa diner on April 27, and in a Philadelphia speech last fall, Obama managed to say the word "pie" 13 times in 86 seconds (see a video clip of the pie-laden speech here).
Is that a record number of "pie" references in a single presidential speech?
It would seem so, says ABC's "Political Radar" blog, though "historical accounts on this subject are scarce."
Does Obama have other guilty pleasures?
Yes, including pie's savory cousin, pizza. Obama famously airlifted St. Louis, Missouri pizza maker Chris Sommer 850 miles to the White House (along with 20 pounds of dough and 3 gallons of marinara sauce) to make a "casual lunch" for Obama's family and staff. Reportedly, the president has overcome his opposition to cheeseburgers and also enjoys smoked sea-salt caramels in milk chocolate.
Have all the treats had an impact on Obama's health?
Yes, says White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. At the time of Obama's health report, the president's LDL cholesterol had jumped from a healthy 96 to a borderline-high 138. He recently attributed the jump to his pie habit, reports Politico.
But Obama hardly looks like a pie addict. What keeps him so trim?
Rigorous morning workouts and recreational basketball. A first lady who's currently engaged in a nationwide battle against childhood obesity may also be wielding some influence.
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