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Ivana Trump is bringing a Berlusconi-approved diet to the US in an effort to ‘make America svelte again’

Ivana Trump is bringing a Berlusconi-approved diet to the US in an effort to ‘make America svelte again’

Ivana Trump

Ivana Trump
Eliza Relman/Business Insider
  • Ivana Trump, the president’s first ex-wife, introduced her new national campaign to fight obesity with a distinctly Trumpian event at the Plaza Hotel on Wednesday.
  • Trump is promoting her Italian business partner’s “Italiano Diet,” which includes patented low-carb cookies and pasta, and herbal tonics.
  • The duo will travel to the country’s “10 fattest cities” over the coming months and aim to make $30 million in profit over the next few years.

Ivana Trump is back in the spotlight.

The Czech-born businesswoman and mother of the president’s three eldest children arrived at the Plaza Hotel on Wednesday evening to talk business – not politics.

Surrounded by a throng of reporters and well-groomed PR professionals, the self-proclaimed “first Trump lady” introduced her latest project – a national campaign against adult obesity – in partnership with Italian businessman and nutritionist Gianluca Mech.

After a glowing introduction from a former Fox News host, Trump sang the praises of Mech’s “Italiano Diet” under chandeliers she imported from Italy back when her husband owned the hotel in the 1980s and early ’90s.

“I used to be Eloise of the Plaza,” she said, before describing her love of Mech’s brand of packaged, low-carbohydrate foods and herbal supplements, and decrying the “calamity” of obesity in America.

As Frank Sinatra crooned and cameras flashed, Trump and her semi-circle of large bodyguards criss-crossed the Oak Room explaining how obese Americans can eat “pasta, cookies, and lose weight.”

Ivana Trump answers questions from a throng of reporters.

Ivana Trump answers questions from a throng of reporters.
Eliza Relman/Business Insider

‘The American Ferrari of energy’

Trump, who has had two Italian husbands since divorcing the president in the mid-1990s, met Mech in Italy several years ago through a mutual “celebrity friend.” A self-professed fan of all things Italian, Trump became a fan of Mech’s Praline cookies – a sweet 60-calorie treat she says you can munch on “for hours” and not feel guilty about.

She began insisting that her friend bring his diet – which former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he lost 10 pounds on – to the United States.

That was about five years ago, but now the time is finally right – in part because of the new American president.

“With President Trump there are two things that are very attractive for any company. He cut taxes so it is very interesting to produce here because you’ll pay less taxes than in Italy, for example,” Mech said. “And the other thing is that it is more quick to obtain all the permissions you need, so it is very convenient and very easy for a company to invest in the United States.”

Mech said he doesn’t know if the president is aware of the venture, or will use his platform to promote it, but added that he believes Ivana, who he calls “the American Ferrari of energy,” will be key to his success. Indeed, Trump has promised to “make America svelte again.”

Their goal is to bring in about $30 million in profit over the next few years before Mech begins manufacturing his Italian products – which include flourless pasta and herbal diuretics – in the US.

Politics, pasta, and (sometimes) fried chicken

The afternoon wasn’t entirely free of politics.

When asked how her campaign differs from former first lady Michelle Obama’s fight against childhood obesity, Trump said the best way to solve the problem is to focus on parents, not kids.

“Italiano Diet” pasta was served to the press conference attendees.
Eliza Relman/Business Insider

“It’s all on the parents. Whatever they put on the plate in front of the children, they’re hungry, they don’t cook, they eat,” she said. “So if you put food in front of them that’s junk – pizza, unhealthy food, French fries – of course they eat it, and then they get obese.”

But Trump, like her ex-husband, has a soft spot for fast food, and boosted her household name in the ’90s by starring in ads for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.

“I dream of it. I have it once a year, and I’ll have it and won’t eat anything for two days,” she recently told the New York Post, adding the president’s “only weakness is the Big Mac.” (The White House revealed earlier this year that the president is one pound shy of being considered obese).

Trump allows herself one monthly baked potato with sour cream – her absolute favorite food, she said.

“It is very important for people to be able to cheat sometimes,” Mech says.

Former New York Gov. David Patterson, a Democrat, made a surprise guest appearance, praising Trump for her efforts to fight one of the nation’s most pressing public health problems. He also said he liked the food – especially the pasta with red sauce, served to attendees on silver platters.

“One of the reasons people don’t change their diets is because they think the food is going to taste worse,” said Patterson, who championed New York’s controversial soda tax. “Now, when I ate this pasta, it was no different from any other pasta.”

But the effort – arguably a marketing campaign for a private venture dressed up as a public health initiative – will surely find critics among health experts and others fighting the growing obesity crisis.

Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian and the cofounder of Dietitians for Professional Integrity, is skeptical of the effort and calls the program, which restricts certain foods including legumes and fruit, “unnecessarily complicated” and “sort of snake-oily.”

“If you’re doing a public health campaign, patented foods make no sense, tonics aren’t necessary, you shouldn’t be telling people they can’t have fruits and beans,” he said. “Americans don’t need tonics right now. What they need is less sugar, less meat, and more plants.”

There will always demand for “a magic bullet” when it comes to weight-loss, Bellatti said, but sometimes there simply isn’t one.

Kim Jong Un brought his own toilet to the Singapore summit — and he takes it everywhere

Kim Jong Un brought his own toilet to the Singapore summit — and he takes it everywhere

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Singapore's prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, at the Istana in Singapore on Sunday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, at the Istana in Singapore on Sunday.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has arrived in Singapore ahead of a historic summit with US President Donald Trump.
  • Along with an extensive security detail, the North Korean leader took his own personal toilet to the meeting.
  • South Korean media reported that the portable toilet “will deny determined sewer divers insights into to the supreme leader’s stools.”

Kim Jong Un has arrived in Singapore ahead of a historic summit with US President Donald Trump – and he brought his toilet.

The North Korean leader is said to always travel with several toilets, including one in his Mercedes.

Daily NK, a South Korean website focusing on North Korea news, reported in 2015 that “the restrooms are not only in Kim Jong Un’s personal train but whatever small or midsize cars he is traveling with and even in special vehicles that are designed for mountainous terrain or snow.”

The publication quoted an unnamed source as saying, “It is unthinkable in a Suryeong-based society for him to have to use a public restroom just because he travels around the country.” Suryeong is a Korean term meaning “supreme leader.”

Kim's toilet.

Kim’s toilet.
Korean Central News Agency

So, why does Kim always travel with several lavatories at his disposal? According to The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, the portable toilets “will deny determined sewer divers insights into to the supreme leader’s stools.”

The secrecy of the North Korean leader’s health is, apparently, paramount.

“Rather than using a public restroom, the leader of North Korea has a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels,” Lee Yun-keol, a former member of a North Korean Guard Command unit who defected, told The Washington Post.

Lee explained, “The leader’s excretions contain information about his health status so they can’t be left behind.”

Kim’s urine and fecal matter are periodically examined to check for illnesses and other health indicators, according to Daily NK.

US-North Korean relations have seemingly come a long way in the past few months – it was only January when a top authority on North Korea suggested that the US should bomb Kim’s personal toilet to put fear in him.

“It will send an unmistakable message: We can kill you while you are dropping a deuce,” Jeffrey Lewis wrote.

Media get a taste of kimchi ice cream at Trump-Kim summit in Singapore

Media get a taste of kimchi ice cream at Trump-Kim summit in Singapore

The tiny city-state of Singapore is hosting its largest media contingent ever for the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. They will be well fed, if nothing else.

A sprawling 2,100 sq m facility built for an annual Formula One race has been refurbished to handle about 3,000 journalists expected to cover tomorrow’s (June 12) summit.

It is a good distance from the summit venue, and intrepid journalists will likely move out of the media centre and try to get closer to the action. Hundreds of journalists gathered outside the hotels where Trump and Kim are staying and along the streets to capture their arrivals on June 10.

The police, though, have stepped up checks and surveillance in designated “special event areas” around the Capella Singapore hotel, where the summit will be held, and the leaders’ temporary residences, Kim’s St. Regis Singapore and Trump’s Shangri-La Hotel. The media center is part of Singapore’s $15 million bill for the summit, the bulk of which is going to security.

And then there’s the food.

Singapore, arguably the food capital of Asia, is treating journalists to a spread of more than 20 local and international favourites at meal times.

There are quintessential Singaporean dishes, such as toast with a coconut and egg jam, chicken rice, and thick vermicelli in a spicy broth that’s made with dried shrimp.

A Kim Jong-un impersonator holding a durian and a packet of chicken rice in Singapore on May 27, 2018. Photo: AFP

Chia Chi Wei, a journalist from Taiwan and first-time visitor to Singapore, tried the famous chicken rice during a break: “I heard so much about it. It was very delicious.”

The Common Good Company, a group of local eateries, is offering ice cream made with kimchi, a spicy Korean staple.

“I cannot remember an event that is as historic, as big, as global,” said its director Wong Peck Lin. “What event is there in our history that has as many journalists from around the world all trained on Singapore?”

Belgian journalist Tom Van de Weghe arrived in the media centre, luggage in hand, after a 30-hour journey.

“The food is amazing. Who is paying for all this?” he said. “It wouldn’t be Kim Jong Un, it wouldn’t be Trump, because they don’t want to spend money. But it’s the Singapore government, so thank you.” – AP/Annabelle Liang

Trump is on a new presidential diet filled with salads and soups — and he hasn’t been seen eating a burger in 2 weeks

Trump is on a new presidential diet filled with salads and soups — and he hasn’t been seen eating a burger in 2 weeks

  • President Donald Trump is reportedly on a new presidential diet filled with salads and soups.
  • It’s a sharp pivot from his typical campaign diet consisting of McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke.
  • People familiar with Trump’s new diet say he’s thriving on the healthier meals.

President Donald Trump has finally cut back on fast food and red meat, trading in his signature diet for salads and soups instead, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Trump has a well-documented fondness for junk food, and his campaign trail diet consisted mostly of McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke, according to his former aides. A typical meal for him consisted of two McDonald’s Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and a small chocolate milkshake – totaling 2,430 calories.

But now, he’s thriving on a newer, healthier diet, three people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. One person even said he hadn’t seen Trump eat a hamburger in two weeks.

But the diet switch-up appears to have taken affect after his first physical exam as president. White House physician Ronny Jackson told media in January that Trump was in “excellent health,” but needed to shed a few pounds.

Trump weighed 239 pounds and stood 6 feet, 3 inches tall. That left him just one pound shy of being designated “obese,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adult BMI Calculator.

Jackson recommended Trump drop between 10 and 15 pounds over the coming year. He added that White House chefs had already begun cooking him much healthier food.

Trump apparently gives himself some cheat days, though. Bloomberg reported that he ate bacon at breakfast one day this week.

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