Yesterday, Maureen Dowd devoted her New York Times column to criticizing President Obama’s eating habits. Why? Because the President’s occasional indulgence in one of nearby Arlington, VA’s famous cheeseburgers is “sending mixed signals on food.” What a load of radicchio, replies Big Money blogger Dan Mitchell. We couldn’t agree more.
By stressing the importance of exercise and a balanced diet but making no secret of his appreciation for a delicious burger and fries, President Obama is sending exactly the right message: moderation. As 67,000-plus experts at the American Dietetic Association have said, what matters is “the total diet or overall pattern of food eaten.” And there’s no good reason why our favorite high-calorie foods shouldn’t have their place in that total. The key is to stay active and avoid going overboard.
But as Mitchell points out, Dowd’s “mixed signals” theory could end up backfiring. Save a few high-profile nutrition zealots, the message that occasional indulgences should be off limits isn’t very popular.
Ideological purity isn’t good for politics in general, and it isn’t good for the politics of food. The idea is to eat a healthy diet in general and to treat yourself once in a while. Insisting on 100 percent fealty is a sure way to turn off the very people you’re trying to reach. Are you listening, MeMe Roth?