What the world’s richest people eat: They have strange eating habits 

19:30, February 2

Just because billionaires can afford expensive personal chefs or high-quality healthy food doesn't mean they prefer healthy food. While some are experimenting with the latest health trends like the paleo diet and veganism, there are other tech billionaires who love to eat chocolate for breakfast, or skip food altogether for days.

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, estimates that he drinks 20 cups of tea a day.

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 "I'm not sure I would survive without English Breakfast tea," he told The Daily Mail in 2016. Branson starts his day with a fruit salad and granola for breakfast. Sometimes the billionaire eats smoked fish, similar to herring, instead. Branson lives on his private Caribbean island of Necker. The billionaire fills his days with exercise, time with family, and business meetings, which he prefers to schedule "during lunch" to "lift his spirits." For dinner, he says, he prefers to have group get-togethers, “where stories are shared and ideas are born.” Branson said he goes to bed around 11pm and sleeps for about six hours.

Amazon co-founder Jeff Bezos said he likes to take his time in the morning and eat a healthy breakfast.

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Earlier this year, Bezos' fiancée Lauren Sanchez revealed that Bezos makes pancakes every Sunday morning. "Every time he pulls out the Betty Crocker cookbook, I say, 'Okay, you're the smartest person in the world, why haven't you memorized the recipe yet?' Sanchez told The Wall Street Journal. Bezos is also "extremely dedicated to working out" with his personal trainer, Wes Okerson, she said. When he's not eating Sunday pancakes, his breakfast choices can be eccentric. According to D Magazine, during a 2014 meeting with a small e-commerce company that was eventually acquired by Amazon, Bezos ordered a breakfast of Mediterranean octopus with potatoes, bacon, green garlic yogurt, and a poached egg. “You’re an octopus I’ll eat for breakfast,” Bezos told his interlocutors. “When I look at the menu, you are something I don’t understand, something I’ve never eaten. I need octopus for breakfast."

Microsoft founder Bill Gates loves Diet Coke so much that he drinks three or four cans a day.

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Earlier this year, Michelin-starred chef Jordi Cruz said Gates once booked his entire restaurant for two days and only ordered a Diet Coke.

Gates' eating habits aren't much better than other billionaires. He eats cocoa puffs for breakfast. Although his ex-wife Melinda Gates has said in the past that he refuses to eat at all. Also, he apparently loves cheeseburgers. In a 2016 Reddit AMA, Gates responded, "Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger" when asked about his favorite sandwich. In the Netflix series Inside Bill's Brain, Gates talked about his love for the powdered drink Tang.

Steve Jobs was known for his peculiar eating habits. According to Walter Isaacson's biography, the Apple co-founder would sometimes eat only one or two foods at a time for weeks at a time.

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At one point, his diet consisted solely of carrots and apples. At one time, he was a "fruitarian" and ate only fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains. Jobs told Isaacson that he "gave up meat" when he was a freshman at Reed College and later gave up grains and milk. Jobs apparently thought his vegan diet meant there was no odor on his body.

The Apple co-founder believed he didn't need to regularly use deodorant or shower, Isaacson says in his book. Sometimes Jobs would fast for several days, which he said made him feel euphoric. In 2003, when Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he tried to recover through diet, drinking a lot of fruit juices and carrots. Five years later, he reintroduced fish and other proteins into his diet after having part of his pancreas removed. But by the time of his death in 2011, the Apple co-founder was on a liquid diet.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk doesn't have the healthiest diet. “If there was a way to not eat so I could work more, I wouldn’t eat,” Musk said.

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In the past, he would skip breakfast—or eat a Mars bar or donut—to start his day. "I'm trying to cut down on sweets, and I should eat an omelette and coffee," Musk said in 2017.  But he doesn't seem to have curbed the habit much.

Earlier this year, the billionaire revealed on X that he eats a donut every morning. “I prefer to eat good food and live shorter,” Musk said in 2020. Lunch is as insignificant a meal for Musk as breakfast. The billionaire said that whatever his assistant brings him during meetings, he will “absorb it in five minutes.” Instead, Musk focuses on dinner. In a 2015 Reddit AMA, Musk said his favorite cuisine is French and barbecue. Like Gates, Musk appears to be a fan of Diet Coke. In 2022, he wrote on X that he doesn't care if Diet Coke "shortens life expectancy."

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has experimented with different types of diets.

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In 2011, he set himself a “personal challenge” to only eat meat from animals he killed. His "kill what you eat" diet included goats, pigs, chickens and lobsters. Zuckerberg did not hesitate to share the food he obtained with friends and guests at home. He once hosted Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and treated him to a killed goat, Dorsey told Rolling Stone. Dorsey said he remembered the meat was served cold, so he stuck to salad for dinner.

 In 2012, the former Twitter CEO said his daily breakfast at the time consisted of two hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce.

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Dorsey also dabbled in popular diet fads. He was a vegan, but too much beta-carotene (the orange pigment found in carrots) caused his skin to turn orange. So by 2013, he switched to the paleo diet, a hunter-gatherer regimen that forbids refined sugar, grains and processed foods. In 2019, Dorsey said he eats only one meal a day during the work week and then fasts all weekend, following a diet trend popular in Silicon Valley at the time called "intermittent fasting." The Twitter co-founder said it helps him focus. However, by 2020, Dorsey said he was eating seven times a week—dinner only.

Back in 2015, Warren Buffett told Fortune that he is "one-quarter Coca-Cola," adding that he drinks five drinks a day.

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Although he usually eats the first can of Potato Stix, he sometimes replaces it with ice cream. Buffett jokingly said he eats "like a 6-year-old" because actuarial tables show 6-year-olds have the lowest mortality rate, Fortune noted. Bill Gates, a friend of Buffett's, noticed that his fellow billionaire mostly subsisted on McDonald's hamburgers and Oreo cookies.

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