By Mike Pomranz
Updated July 28, 2016
Credit: Alex Wong

When you’re President of the United States, everything you do is under scrutiny – even, apparently, how you eat your almonds. Though you’d probably scrutinize anyone, president or not, who says he eats exactly seven almonds as a snack – which, for the record, our president definitely does not.

It all started back on the July 2, when the New York Times ran the oddly titled article, “Obama After Dark,” which looked into our sitting president’s late-night habits. Under the ominous subheading of “Seven Almonds,” Times reporter Michael D. Shear wrote, “To stay awake, the president does not turn to caffeine. He rarely drinks coffee or tea, and more often has a bottle of water next to him than a soda. His friends say his only snack at night is seven lightly salted almonds.” Shear then quotes former White House chef Sam Kass, who said, “Michelle and I would always joke: Not six. Not eight… Always seven almonds.”

Now, you expect a president to be detail-oriented, but eating exactly seven almonds is strange even by OCD standards. It definitely seemed strange to Today’s Savannah Guthrie, who used time out of her interview of the POTUS to inquire about this detail. “A lot of people were interested to learn that you have a late night snack every night of exactly seven almonds,” she stated, getting the ball rolling.

“Well, this is an example of the weird way that the press works,” Obama responded, eager to set the record straight. “So Michelle and Sam Kass, who was our chef here, one night they were talking about me and teasing me about how disciplined I was, that I didn't have potato chips or I didn't have a piece of cake. And this is when Michelle said, ‘Yes, and he just has seven almonds. That's it.’ To really drive home the point that I needed to loosen up a little bit. And Sam relayed this joke to The New York Times in the article and somehow it was relayed as if I was counting out … the seven almonds. All my friends were calling up and they're saying, ‘You know, this seems a little anal. This is kind of weird.’ And I had to explain to them, no, this was a joke.”

So there you have it: President Obama has been called a lot of things, but “obsessive almond counter” shouldn’t be one of them. That said, he’s still very pro-almond: “Almonds are a good snack, I strongly recommend them,” he told Guthrie.

Oh, so Obama is in the pocket of “big almond,” I guess, huh?! Never mind. I shouldn’t start rumors.

[h/t Eater]