Obama Likes to Snack Against the Grain

On his second full day in office, President Barack Obama surprised members of the White House press corps by unexpectedly visiting their work area in the West Wing, saying hi and commenting on the lack of healthy snacks in the vending machines in that area.

After passing by vending machines that had soda, candy bars and chips, Obama suggested that we “might want to have healthier snacks,” according to TIME magazine.

So, what does the svelte president snack on? Mostly against-the-grain snacks, such as fruits and nuts. According to USA Today, Obama likes Planters Trail Mix: Nuts, Seeds and Raisins. He also drinks a lot of bottled water.

References:

Feller, Ben. “Obama takes tour of White House press digs.” Associated Press/Google News, January 23, 2009, link.

Horovitz, Bruce. “Obama family favorites likely to get brand boost.” USA Today, November 5, 2008, link.

Hu FB, Stampfer MJ. Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a review of epidemiological evidence. Current Atherosclerosis Reports, 1999;1(3):204-9.

Jiang R, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ. Nut and peanut butter consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2002; 288; 20:2554-2560.

Kris-Etherton PM, Zhao G, Binkoski AE, et al. The effects of nuts on coronary heart disease risk. Nutrition Reviews, 2001;59(4):103-111.

Sabate J. Nut consumption and body weight. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003; 78(3 Suppl): 647S-650S.

Scherer, Michael. Obama Takes in the White House Press Room. TIME.com Blog, Swampland, January 22, 2009, link.

Melissa’s Comments:

President Barack Obama is probably the most in-shape president the United States has ever had. (In case you missed the much-publicized picture of Barack Obama in swimming trunks in Hawaii that received worldwide attention, you can view it here.) Of course, Obama works out and plays basketball, which helps keep him trim, but he also makes an effort to eat healthy snacks, unlike Ronald Reagan who munched on jelly beans and George W. Bush who loved pretzels. Americans and people around the world who are trying to watch their weight might want to take a page out of Obama’s book and snack against the grain.

As far as commercial brands of snacks go, Planters Trail Mix: Nuts, Seeds and Raisins is healthier than most. It is especially healthier than blood-sugar-spiking, fat-promoting, grain-based snack foods such as cookies, pies, crackers, pretzels, chips, and granola bars that most people on Western diets eat. The Planters mix is a combination of roasted Sunflower Seed Kernels, Cashews, Pumpkin Seed Kernels, Almonds, Peanuts, and Raisins – which are all nutrient-dense real foods. The main trouble spots in the snack are the peanut and/or cottonseed oil and salt at the end of the ingredients list.

Numerous studies have found that high-fat nuts protect against diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and they are not fattening. People actually lose weight better on nut-rich diets, and those who eat nuts are leaner than those who don’t. Too much dried fruit can spike blood sugar levels and promote weight gain, but dried fruit in small amounts isn’t apt to do that, especially for those who are very active and exercise strenuously.

© Copyright 2009 by Melissa Diane Smith

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