January 19, 2011

The National Enquirer says that Obama is "scary skinny" because he's "secretly battling stomach parasites."

Sorry. It's slimy even to link to this. But I'm linking to debunk it.
The pencil-thin president caught the parasites on a trip last year to Hawaii, where he and his family also vacationed over Christmas, according to top political insiders.
If that were really true, people would be flocking to Hawaii to get the parasites so they could lose weight. Oh? You think that's absurd? People wouldn't do that? They get surgery on their stomachs— surgery that could kill them — and that only makes them lose weight because they eat less. If there were parasites that made you ultra-thin, people would buy them and swallow them whole. We'd be seeing ads on the internet.

You've heard of tapeworm dieting, haven't you?
Did anybody honest to God think this would work? Answer: Evidently. A few seconds with Google turns up an authentic-looking advertisement for "sanitized tapeworms" ("friends for a fair form") that appears to date from the turn of the last century. A hoax? Maybe, but it convinced at least one medical expert, endocrinologist Zachary Bloomgarden, who in a 2000 article in Diabetes Care wrote, "Approaches to decreasing nutrient absorption date from the early 1900s, when diet treatment with 'sanitized tapeworms' was widely advertised."
It's a terrible idea, I hasten to add:
An adult tapeworm can grow up to 50 feet long and live up to 20 years. Tapeworm eggs are even worse, as the larvae that emerge from them are prone to burrow out of your intestines and find homes elsewhere in your body. For example, the pork tapeworm can cause neurocysticercosis, in which the larvae migrate through the stomach or intestinal lining and up into your brain. There they form destructive cysts, triggering immune responses that can lead to epileptic seizures or worse. The cysts formed by sheep tapeworm larvae may reach the size of grapefruit; they can rupture blood vessels when they break, resulting in shock and death.

Death, schmeath, you say: will I lose weight?...
That is the way people think. I say if the National Enquirer were right about the President's parasites, somebody would be selling Presidential Parasites on the internet.

And, seriously, I hope the President is okay. And if he's healthy-skinny, he ought to give us some diet tips along with the usual inspiration.


holdfast said...

Putting the "die" in diet.

Actually, my little brother actually had an intestinal parasite as a kid - poor guy didn't grow for a couple of years, ended up on Pregnisone and various other drugs which then caused him to get all puffy and get tons of cavities.

Not recommended.

Meade said...

I'll give you his diet tip. It's called cigarettes.

Carol said...

I thought he quit the cigs - ?

rhhardin said...

Obama lives off tapeworms.

Hagar said...

Until recently, Michelle did his cooking.

HT said...

Some people are just skinny. If he gives (or if he gave) up cigs, he'll gain just a couple of pounds, likely nothing more.

I saw this in the grocery yesterday, but I saw it on something Globe something or other, and I thought thank goodness it's not in the Enquirer because then it might be true.

Maguro said...

Great picture of Barry holding a Slurpee. Priceless.

Henry said...

From the link, an awkward use of a dead metaphor:

"Barack has wanted to keep the stomach parasites under the radar," revealed a close source.

edutcher said...

The other theory is AIDS.

The Drill SGT said...

Not many skinny Hawaiians

Michael said...

smoking and speed.

MayBee said...

Are people flocking to cigarettes because he smokes and is skinny?
Or does this "proof" only work with his parasites?

Anonymous said...

Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
I think I'll eat some worms!

Big fat juicy ones
Little tiny squirmy ones
See and watch how they squirm!

Bite their heads off
Suck the juice out
Throw the skins awaaaaay

Nobody know how
I can eat these
Worms three times a day!


Dust Bunny Queen said...

Some say Parkinson's

Whatever, as long as it means that Obama doesn't run again.

Phil 3:14 said...

My immediate reaction was this dialogue from the Three Stooges:

Curly: What'll ya have?
Moe: I'll have four pieces of burnt toast and a rotten egg.
Curly: Why do you want that?
Moe: I gotta tapeworm and it's good enough for him.

JAL said...

@AA "along with the usual inspiration."

A joke. Right?

Alison said...

I (unintentionally!) got parasites from Africa and dropped from average to scrawny. After I got my health back, my metabolism kept running quickly and I'm healthy-skinny no matter what I do.

knox said...

A lot of people lose weight under extreme stress. He's probably living on coffee and cigarettes.

EDH said...

Phil beat me to it.

From Punch Drunks, "I'll have four slices of burnt toast and a rotten egg."

rhhardin said...

A diet of worms is not good for Lutherans.

rhhardin said...

"Where's my cookie?"

- tapeworm jokebook

BarrySanders20 said...

Obama will be OK. In fact, he's feeling so good that I heard as part of cultural outreach, he is hosting a softball game between the White House staffers and the Chinese delegation. A transcript leaked of Obama briefing Biden before the game:

Biden: Well then who's on first?

Obama: Yes.

Biden: I mean the fellow's name.

Obama: Hu.

Biden: The guy on first.

Obama: Hu.

Biden: The first baseman.

Obama: Hu.

Biden: The guy playing...

Obama: Hu is on first!

Biden: I'm asking YOU who's on first.

Obama: That's the man's name.

Biden: That's who's name?

Obama: Yes.

Biden: Well go ahead and tell me.

Obama: That's it.

Biden: That's who?

Obama: Yes.


Biden: Look, you gotta first baseman?

Obama: Certainly.

Biden: Who's playing first?

Obama: That's right.

Biden: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Obama: Every dollar of it.

Biden: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

Obama: Hu.

Biden: The guy that gets...

Obama: That's it.

Biden: Who gets the money...

Obama: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Biden: Who's wife?

Obama: Yes.


Obama: What's wrong with that?

Biden: Look, all I wanna know is when you sign up the first baseman, how does he sign his name?

Obama: Hu.

Biden: The guy.

Obama: Hu.

Biden: How does he sign...

Obama: That's how he signs it.

Biden: Who?

Obama: Yes.


Biden: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.

Obama: No. What is on second base.

Biden: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Obama: Hu's on first.

Biden: One base at a time!

Obama: Well, don't change the players around.

Biden: I'm not changing nobody!

Obama: Take it easy, buddy.

Biden: I'm only asking you, who's the guy on first base?

Obama: That's right.

Biden: Ok.

Obama: All right.


Biden: What's the guy's name on first base?

Obama: No. What is on second.

Biden: I'm not asking you who's on second.

Obama: Hu's on first.

Biden: I don't know.

Obama: He's on third, we're not talking about him.

Biden: Now how did I get on third base?

Obama: Why you mentioned his name.

Biden: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

Obama: No. Hu's playing first.

Biden: What's on first?

Obama: What's on second.

Biden: I don't know.

Obama: He's on third.

Biden: There I go, back on third again!

Oligonicella said...

"You think that's absurd? People wouldn't do that?"

Oh, I was convinced last election that people would do life-altering things with no informational input at all.

dbp said...

There is some interesting work going on using parasites to treat autoimmune disease:

patients with advanced, medication-resistant Crohn's disease were colonized with T. suis. They tolerated the parasite with little or no symptoms attributable to this organism. Table 4 shows that after achieving patent colonization, both participants had a drop in CDAI values, diarrhea, and inflammatory indices. This result indicates that helminths are useful for modulating abnormal immune responses, including, but not limited to Crohn's disease.

AllenS said...

Hard to eat when you've developed ulcers from constantly worrying about people finding out that you don't know jack shit.

Sixty Grit said...

He is not healthy, nor is there any evidence as to what he is addicted to, nor how he did in school, or, according to the governor of Hawaii, any trace of his birth certificate. Cue Mick...

Pastafarian said...

dbp -- I read about that too. They use some sort of worm (pin worm, maybe?) from a pig that can't breed in humans. I guess the theory is that we've all become so clean and tidy that our immune system doesn't have enough to do, and so it attacks healthy tissue.

Barry Sanders -- I wondered what you did after retirement.

Anonymous said...

He has parasites. Not just any parasites, but mind-control parasites -- and he's being controlled by Dick Cheney!

knox said...

constantly worrying about people finding out that you don't know jack shit.

LOL. This is pretty much the "stress" to which I referred.

Sheepman said...

I got tapeworms while traveling through South America. I was in better than normal shape when I noticed a large tapeworm in my shit. I took some medicine that quickly cleared out a whole colony of baby tapeworms.

Aside from thinking about it, there were no adverse effects.

Ann Althouse said...

@Sheepman See, that story is enough to make a lot of people think: I want to eat me some tapeworms, and when I'm in better shape, I'll take that medicine Sheepman took to clear them out.

MadisonMan said...

I think it's stress. Leading the USA is probably stressful.

Christopher said...

Cocaine's a hell of a drug.

knox said...

Even MadMan agrees with me! : )

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastafarian said...

Althouse said: "...I want to eat me some tapeworms..."

You sound like an Althouse hillbilly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

As much as I love Sashimi and have eaten it often in the past, parasites are the reason that I won't eat it anymore. Similar concerns with Ceviche.

It is very difficult, in most places, to get really fresh high quality tuna for Sashimi. I'd rather not take the chance.

Note: sushi is not the same thing as raw fish sashimi, so don't be afraid of sushi.

What I mean is that many of the Sushi variations are cooked and safe (hopefully).


AllenS said...

Maybe Michelle is trying to poison him.

MayBee said...

Giardia is a stomach parasite that makes you lose weight because you throw up or have diarrhea almost constantly.

I think for the price of a ticket to Hawaii to get that parasite, you could just buy a lot of laxatives.

pst314 said...

Kind of ironic for a socialist to be suffering from parasites.

Fred4Pres said...

Monsters inside Obama?

Fred4Pres said...

pst314 said...
Kind of ironic for a socialist to be suffering from parasites.

1/19/11 12:04 PM

Nice pst214! Which leads to the next question: What no professional courtesy?

Class factotum said...

MayBee, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and was friends with a guy who was a PCV in Paraguay, which is much poorer than Chile. He got giardia, which gives you gas or diarrhea and you don't know which one it is.

He had gone to the capital for a big meeting with the national folks of the forestry department. He was wearing a suit.

He thought he had gas.

He didn't.

He said, "Don Jose [big forestry guy], do you have any toilet paper I could use?"

Don Jose answered, "But Drew, you know we are a poor agency and cannot afford such luxuries."*

My friend said, "That's too bad because I just crapped in my pants."

He had to walk all the way back to his hotel with poop-stained pants.

* You laugh, but I took my own toilet paper to work in Chile and locked it in my desk drawer.

Fred4Pres said...

I do not get too hung up on cerveche. The lemon juice and hot pepper generally take out the parasites. The key is use top quality fish and make sure you do not use species notorious for parasites (ever wonder why they don't serve raw swordfish in sushi/sashimi bars)?

Most sushi is still raw (eel and octopus and a few of the clam versions excluded). But I figure the ginger and wasabi give a little protection. I make my own sashimi with fish I catch myself. I usually bring wasabi, soy sauce and ginger on the boat with me.

Fred4Pres said...

I had a co worker friend who lived in D.C. for a while. He was in his favorite sushi place and Bush Sr. came in with a two secret service/guards guys (I think he was vice president at the time, but it was possible it was before that). The place was empty and the two of them ate sushi at the bar for a few hours. He said Bush was pretty daring on trying stuff and seemed to like it, so he figured years later when Bush Sr. threw up at that Japanese state function it was really due to stomach bug and not the specific food that night.

Fred4Pres said...

Giardia you usually get from water. It is common in North America and bears shitting in the woods (imagine that) spread it. I am sure there are other hosts and it is common in S.A. too. I have never gotten it, but I have heard similar shitting stories from friends who went camping and did not boil/treat fresh water properly.

Quaestor said...


Thanks for the revised "Who's on first" joke. Too bad Obama & Company have no sense of humor.

Fred4Pres said...

Someone should package nasty but undeadly parasites and call it "Jungle in a Can" for weight loss. Then when you reach your target weight, you take the medicine and you are done.

Should be able to get FDA approval. Why not?

Fred4Pres said...

Oh, Ann already suggested it. Too slow on my part.

Ralph L said...

They thought I had parasites after two weeks of terrible diarrhea that exhausted me and dropped my blood pressure to dizzy levels. Four doctors, thousands of dollars in tests, barium up both ends, endoscopy, and colonoscopy yielded a diagnosis of irritable bowel, which was only partly correct. I didn't realize until my cats died 10 years later that I was allergic to them, and only them.

No fried foods, caffiene, or seasoned food, plus diarrhea 2-4 times a week did keep me thin, however, but I don't recommend it.

Jim said...

never say never...


Fernandinande said...

"For the Good of the Gut: Can Parasitic Worms Treat Autoimmune Diseases?"


BJM said...


You're right about fresh water and Giardia. A lot of campers boil drinking water, but never give a thought about jumping into a pool of water under a waterfall, bathing/swimming in rivers or lakes.

wv=Vadersin Killing the younglings in the Jedi Temple.

MayBee said...

Someone should package nasty but undeadly parasites and call it "Jungle in a Can"

With Giardia, "Jungle in the can" would be about right.

Anonymous said...

Heh. People are afraid to eat sushi because of some infinitesimal risk of parasites, but what about casu marzu?


Shanna said...

Is "stomach parasites" really the best they can do? Lame!

chickelit said...

Perhaps a case of Barry-Barry?
(anglicized spelling)

Meade said...

"Mmm... maggots. Is there anything they can't do?"

Sofa King said...

Sounds like he's on the South Bronx diet.


Belkys said...

stress its more probable. Going twice a week to ,play golf and vacation every three months dont help with coping with stress when overwhelmed by the task

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Heh. People are afraid to eat sushi because of some infinitesimal risk of parasites, but what about casu marzu?

You can't fool me into looking at that horror more than once....OK maybe a few times :-P

I've had Montezuma's Revenge or the Tourist Trots a few times when living in Mexico. Not that big of a deal when treated properly.

I'm not so much worried about the intestinal parasites as I am the possiblity of brain worms or those parasites that reside ecapsulated in your muscles. You don't know about those for quite some time.

People didn't cook the crap out of pork in the olden days just because they liked it well done.

I have read through UC Davis that if you are going to use raw fish (sushi or ceviche) you should freeze it for some time first to kill the parasites.

Just not worth it IMHO to eat raw fish in a restaurant, when you have no idea how fresh, where the fish is from or how careful they are in preparation.

Trooper York said...

Giardia you usually get from water.

Damn get me some of that water right now!!!!!!

mariner said...

So maybe brain parasites are the reason Obama needs his teleprompter to speak to kindergartners?

mariner said...

rhhardin @ 11:03


Pogo said...

Margaret Thatcher: 'The trouble with tapeworms is that eventually you run out of other people's calories.'

momiss said...

I think they do have diet pills like that. One of my lib friends who is really against drugs, except for the weight loss kind (!) took them.

chickelit said...

Pogo = threadwinner!

Anonymous said...

Althouse, you're dead on right. Having traveled through Asia, I've had several encounters with intestinal parasites. Black walnut and pumpkin seed (or is it sunflower seeds?) helped to kill them off, and there's some nasty little herbal concoction that relatives sent to me, and it was quite effective. With all that, I've never yet lost the kind of weight Obama obviously has. So, whatever's the cause for his weight loss, intestinal parasites ain't it.

Sixty Grit said...

Trooper, La Giardia is your airport, right?

XWL said...
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XWL said...

From Brian Aldiss' short story "Super-Toys Las All Summer Long" (full text at link, was written in 1969, and loosely served as insipration for the Spielberg/Kubrick film AI):

After a couple of jokes, he said, "Today marks a real breakthrough for the company. It is now almost ten years since we put our first synthetic life-forms on the world market. You all know what a success they have been, particularly the miniature dinosaurs. But none of them had intelligence.

"It seems like a paradox that in this day and age we can create life but not intelligence. Our first selling line, the Crosswell Tape, sells best of all, and is the most stupid of all." Everyone laughed.

"Though three-quarters of the overcrowded world are starving, we are lucky here to have more than enough, thanks to population control. Obesity's our problem, not malnutrition. I guess there's nobody round this table who doesn't have a Crosswell working for him in the small intestine, a perfectly safe parasite tape-worm that enables its host to eat up to fifty percent more food and still keep his or her figure. Right?" General nods of agreement.

A genetically engineered incapable of reproduction with a limited lifespan tapeworm like creature that takes excess sugars and starch and craps out nutrients will make the company that comes up with it very, very wealthy.

Obviously, the imagining of such a thing goes way back (as evidenced by the above story from 1969), bet there are labs working on something like it. Many things that exist today in 2011 weren't conceived of in 1969, and just as many predictions about the cool stuff we'd have by now haven't come to fruition.

Wonder what would be most delightful, and most disappointing for someone were they to have been 'Rip Van Winkled' and skipped straight from 1969 to 2011.

XWL said...
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XWL said...
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XWL said...

(sorry for the multiple post, was getting an error message, when it turns out the comment posted each time)

Methadras said...

The POTUS's doctor is doing a shitty job then.