Blue Zones... looking for videos online that comprehensively refute the ridiculous claims

(Brian) #1

I’ve been lookin’ on YouTube but maybe I don’t use the right search terms. I’ve heard numerous doctors (I think Chaffee was one of the last ones I heard) talk about the reality of a couple of the Blue Zones, the ones all of the vegans wanna parade out and tell us how these are the most healthy people and eat little to no meat, “rainbows and unicorns”, yada, yada. And yet when people take a closer look, often, there are massive amounts of meat being consumed which you’d never hear from a vegan.

What I wondered was whether any of you might know of a lecture or series of talks that just take this whole Blue Zone thing apart, in detail, zone by zone, and leave the vegan utopia preaching in ashes. I do sometimes find bits and pieces but just have never seen that as the main topic. Has it been a thing at one of the Ketofest events that may not be things the YouTube search engines will show me? They do tend to show me what they want me to see even when I specifically ask for something else.

Anyway, I wondered. Thanks!

(Bob M) #2

I just listened to this, although there is a lot less about blue zones than the title implies:

(Alec) #3

(Central Florida Bob ) #4

One of my most favorite things I’ve read about health and diet, blue zones and all that was linked by Mark Sisson at Primal Blueprint.

To quote Mark’s email:

Red wine consumption didn’t predict supercentenarianism.
Legume consumption didn’t predict it.
The presence of hills didn’t predict it.

It turns out that a strong predictor of super-longevity is the absence of detailed birth records.

That’s right, the best predictor of living well past 100 is living someplace where there are no records of when people were born! The conclusion of the paper is that the primary causes of reported supercentenarianism in these countries are pension fraud and reporting error.

(Brian) #5

Humorous, for sure. Might be a bit of truth there, kinda hard to nail down, though, almost like trying to prove a negative. With no paper trail, how do you prove how old someone isn’t?

OK, that said…

In several places, I’ve heard that in both Okinawa and Sardinia, there are just massive amounts of meat consumed. Their diets are heavily meat based.

I have wondered, though, about the Loma Linda, CA Blue Zone in particular. In general, isn’t that a bunch of SDA’s? If they are, they’re not likely to be consuming much meat or animal products. Then again, I know of a lot of SDA’s who don’t age well even if they don’t die at 75. They might look like they did…

I suspect all of those zones have some interesting characteristics which have been embellished and emboldened with each reiteration of the stories of long ago as they’re told again and again to whoever will listen. :wink:


I am Italian. Everybody in Italy knows that Sardinia has a massive, massive sheep industry. Whilst the Italian society has never been so meat-intensive as, say, the SAD, meat is part of the local diet just like oxygen is part of air.

What makes these people live longer is not the meat, though (they likely don’t eat more or less than most Italians), or the pension frauds (if you think you can fake your DOB in Italy you need to learn more about the Country). It’s the absence of the stress typical of the big cities. Again, that the quality of life in Sardinia is very, very high is common knowledge where I come from.

Good air, good food, ordered life, and no stress.

If you ask me, that’s the recipe, right there, and all the Italian blue zones I ever saw mentioned had that in spades.


Er sorry, traditionally the Okinawans didn’t or don’t eat large amounts of meat. They eat large amounts of purple and orange sweet potatoes.

The staple foods in a traditional Okinawan diet are (2Trusted Source):

  • Vegetables (58–60%): sweet potato (orange and purple), seaweed, kelp, bamboo shoots, daikon radish, bitter melon, cabbage, carrots, Chinese okra, pumpkin, and green papaya
  • Grains (33%): millet, wheat, rice, and noodles
  • Soy foods (5%): tofu, miso, natto, and edamame
  • Meat and seafood (1–2%): mostly white fish, seafood, and occasional pork — all cuts, including organs
  • Other (1%) : alcohol, tea, spices, and dashi (broth)

(Brian) #8

I can’t say I have the same trust levels when numerous people visit attempting to learn of those traditional diets and not finding the diet you mention. It’s one of the reasons for my question.


We had Japanese student live with for us for a year. He said his family ate, fish, rice, vegetables and miso soup. His family were all stick thin and healthy.
It was apparent that they had zero empty carbs in their diet. ie, sweets/ candy, cakes and biscuits.

(KM) #10

If you’re willing to put in legwork and time, the Netflix doc series “Live to 100, secrets of the blue zones” that glorifies blue zones actually offers a lot of reasons to refute the idea or at least temper it. For one thing, each zone has a different explanation, ranging from deep community and emotional support for elders to a sense of purpose to lack of stress to lots of stairs. For another, I feel like these zones were somewhat arbitrary. Loma Linda for example was probably selected simply because it is in a different country. It’s a small population and doesn’t have exceptional longevity compared with the others.


Okinawans/Japanese also have the 3rd highest rates of stomach cancer in the world.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #12

Any diet that involves eating less seed oils, sugar, and highly refined grains is going to promote better health than the standard Western diet, regardless of the proportions of protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

(Brian) #13

Definitely no argument with that.

I guess what tweaks my interest so highly is that for decades, something like 50 years, I was preached to that vegans are the healthiest people on the planet, that we should live to be 120 if we eat that way, and to look at the Blue Zones as examples of people who are healthy, long-lived vegans. And that’s often where they did (and from what I understand, still do) hang their hat. It’s as though they create their own alternate realities for these Blue Zones that for the most part, nobody that’s listening to them has been to and only knows what somebody tells them. (Dangerous place to be in a lot of areas.) The longevity and quality of life in that particular group does not reflect their preaching as so many of them age so poorly.

I know there are some variations in what people will notice. Someone like Dr. Chaffee might visit a place and take note of the abundance of meat. Someone like Dr. McDougall might visit the same place and note the abundance of veg. And they might both be right even in part heavily influenced by exactly who they visited.

People I would typically run into have never been outside the US and certainly not outside of their little church group, and would use, as the argument for which there is no refute, “But, the Blue Zones.” , implying -insert mic drop here, end of argument, they’ve played their ace-. To them, it’s their “Lion of Judah”. To me, it’s well painted paper tiger.


Dan Buettner was the first to coin the phrase Blue Zones and the founder of the concept of Blue Zones. He wanted to better understand the role of lifestyle and environment, so Buettner set out to reverse engineer longevity. In association with National Geographic and with funding from the National Institute on Ageing, Buettner and a team of demographers studied census data and identified five pockets where people are living verifiably longer lives by several measurements (Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, taly). They identified nine principals (Power 9) of which only one is related to diet.
Before publishing his “Blue Zone” study, he became fascinated by the Danish Twin Study, which established that only about 20 percent of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes, while about 80 percent is influenced by lifestyle and environment.

Do not fall into the trap. The media and the vegan industry love to highlight this one aspect of his research. Did he and his team of researchers purposely avoid countries or regions that ate a lower-carb or higher-animal diet and had an inordinate number of healthy centenarians? Maybe, but his research, at least in the beginning, was not based on diets; it was only one of nine principles.

The country with the most absolute centenarians is the USA. This might suggest that diet may play a role in longevity and health, but diet is only one aspect of a much larger picture.

(Bob M) #15

That is supposedly true. In Okinawa, it’s mainly pork and seafood.

@Chetogenico I do believe stress is a major factor, as is community.

@Jimbob If you want to listen to the podcast I posted, right toward the end, the woman – who has been to Okinawa multiple times – talks about the massive amount of meat they eat. Meat, not vegetables.

And that study you posted, well, it’s garbage. It’s not a study where they went and looked at what Okinawans ate. This is what they cite:


Which, by the way, is a citation to themselves. They wrote a book on it:

I can’t track down the original study, but it’s not necessary, since the people in the podcast have been to Okinawa and say they eat tons of meat.

(Edith) #16

Yeah, I listened to that podcast, and I do wonder what they mean by “tons”. I would like something more definitive like percentage of calories from meat (pork and seafood).


[quote=“Bellyman, post:5, topic:120503”]
I’ve heard that in both Okinawa and Sardinia, there are just massive amounts of meat consumed. Their diets are heavily meat-based.

This is simply not true. The Sardinian people have a more balanced approach. They virtually eat no processed food. The exception would be pasta, which is consumed on a regular basis. Yes, meat is eaten, but not to the extent of the way we do. A 16-ounce steak would be split up between the entire family. Eating a variety of food that includes fruits and vegetables native to their island is also popular. Okinawa, 30 years ago, ate a diet that was about 90% carbs. Now it is closer to 80% carbs. They simply do not have land available to produce vast amounts of cattle. Also keep in mind, the Japanese have the 3rd highest incidence of stomach cancers in the world.

(Brian) #18

And I’ve heard people visiting there mention that this is total poppycock.

But they have lots and lots of pork. It seems to be the elephant in the room.

FWIW, Okinawa isn’t just one island. There are five main islands and numerous smaller ones. But you probably already knew that.

(Brian) #19

Very good question.

I also wonder how much variety there is among specific people. An example might be just taking the people that live on my road and quantifying how we eat, classifying us as “Standard American Diet”. A fair number of them fit into our common thinking of SAD pretty well. A very few eat… well, garbage and little more. A few would be eating quite a lot of home-grown meat and veg, not a lot of processed stuff. And at our house, we eat very little carbs and are quite meat heavy, pretty much in the keto moving towards carnivore category. And we all live in the same place. How much of that happens in the Blue Zones?

A person who visited from Antarctica might visit the drug house where they eat horribly and note how us “Americans” eat. Another person from the North Pole might visit our house and see how wonderfully we “Americans” eat. If they each write a book titled “How Americans Eat”, I suspect they’d read quite a bit differently.

At least to some extent, I have to wonder how much people find what they want to find.

Previous reading on the subject from many years ago got me to the conclusion that extending longevity had numerous factors as mentioned above. A few that I remember were; generally taking care of yourself (you’d think it obvious but some people just don’t)… not smoking, not drinking to excess, getting some exercise, stuff like that. Also being a part of a church or community where you had good relationships and people connections. Also putting yourself in places where stress levels were lower and more healthy. And of course, being a bit picky about the diet. (The things noted at the time were that the longest lived people were not vegans, did eat meat, but were perhaps somewhat choosy about the meat that they did eat. I do not recall whether actual quantity of meat was a part of the things I was presented with.)

So yeah, I get that other factors are very significant and it’s not just about food. There may also be a range of eating styles that a person may find to be their “sweet spot”. For those of us who have found more meat to be a better place for us, we’re not wrong. For those who have found that more veg is a better place for them to be, I don’t feel like I can tell them they’re wrong. But I do pay attention to how people eat, how they age, and that does relate to longevity in general.

Sorry I’m a little long winded.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #20

I was just reading something to the effect that there was a battle on Okinawa during World War II that destroyed the pig herd on the islands. So right after the war, there wasn’t much meat. But eventually, emigrants to the U.S. were able to band together and send enough pigs back to their homeland to restore the herd.