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Michelle Obama splurges on burgers, fries and shake, and that’s OK

First Lady Michelle Obama is a champion for healthful eating and exercise, home gardens and salad bars at school lunches. Now she’s been caught in an unflattering lunchtime act.

A reporter from the Washington Post spotted the first lady at a Shake Shack on Monday ordering a ShackBurger, fries, chocolate shake and Diet Coke.

The caloric damage—about 490 calories in the burger, 470 in the fries, and 740 in the 15-ounce shake, for a total of 1,700 calories.

For comparison, at McDonald’s, a Quarter Pounder with cheese (510), large French fries (500) and a 16-ounce Chocolate Triple Thick shake (580) weighs in at 1,590 calories.

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Neither are particularly healthful meals. But here’s the real question about Michelle Obama’s fast-food splurge: Does it even matter?

For keeping weight stable, not really, say nutritionists. Research last year indicated that occasional, high-calorie splurges won’t throw off your body weight, as long as your long-term calorie intake isn’t creeping upward.

And a lineup of nutritionists and dietitians in this USA Today article echoed that as long as splurges are occasional, they can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

In any case, Michelle Obama could have done much worse. The winner of the L.A. Times’ Battle of the Burgers, the German Cuban burger, weighed in at 1,773 calories.

healthkey@tribune.com

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