Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, argues that dietary habits of the Mediterranean and Sardinia are conducive to longevity.
Similar to the Mediterranean Diet, Dan Buettner’s Sardinian Diet focuses on cheese, bread (whole wheat), and wine. Yet he doesn’t talk about just any wine, he refers to very dark red wine, rich in antioxidants. The wine, he argues, helps to clean the arteries. As he told Good Morning America, “This is so dark that the Italians call it vino nero, which means ‘black wine. And another thing we’ve just learned…it’s so important to drink your wine with the meal.”
The Sardinian Diet also promotes certain kinds of cheeses. One, called pecorino sardo, is supposed to contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids. Another kind of cheese, infested with live maggots, is supposed to be good for the gut.
One surprising aspect of the Sardinian Diet is that there is not a lot of emphasis on fish. Dan Buettner argues that the longest-lived diets don’t contain a lot of fish (though I wonder what he would say about the Okinawa Diet). The Sardinian Diet also recommends lots of vegetables and nuts. There is little emphasis on meat, as Buettner only recommends having meat once a week.
Sardinian Diet vs. Cookie Diet
The Sardinian Diet is one of the latest to hit the market, as consumers have also been eager to try the Cookie Diet, a 1,000 calorie per day mono-diet of specifically designed cookies to help you feel full. While critics express concern that the Cookie Diet is not nutritionally balanced, proponents argue that Cookie Diet is not meant to be a long term solution and that consumers take a multi-vitamin with their cookies.
The Cookie Diet, however, seems to have its place as a short-term diet that would produce quick results without causing feelings of deprivation. As long as the consumers found ways to adopt healthy eating habits after going off the diet, I don’t see the harm of using it as a temporary tool. While the Sardinian Diet is designed as a long term way of life, the Cookie Diet is designed to produce quick results for extreme cases of obesity.
I’d be skeptical of following any one specific regimen as dietary dogma. Many of the principles in the Sardinian Diet are just common sense such as the importance of antioxidants, whole grains, and lean proteins. Yet I wouldn’t see any reason to follow the Sardinian Diet to a T. For example, while one could get valuable antioxidants from dark red wine, who’s to say it couldn’t also come from green tea or blueberries?
Of course, there is certainly no harm in adopting the principles of the Sardinian Diet to daily life, especially when it can mean adding nearly six years to your life.
On the Table in Sardinia: Red Wine, Bread and Cheese, Suzan Clarke and Maria Cohen, Good Morning America