That’s why Italians live so long and don’t get fat.
Many times I’ve been asked this question by friends around the globe: Why do Italians don’t get fat?
Well, I think this is a misconception, although we do have fantastic reasons to think this is actually true.
Let’s figure this out, what are the myths and truths about it. Because, of course, it is true that our lifestyle is quite healthy and our food is superb… but it is also true that not all aspects can be positive!
Why we Italians don’t get fat
If you are wondering why we don’t get fat, the answer is not that, you know, as you can see behind me, it’s not that we believe in Christ or we are Catholic.
There you go, Jesus Christ. And it’s also not because we are lucky or we’ve got some sort of superpower around us.
Why Italians don’t get that. I don’t know if I have the answer to this question, but when you are Italian, when you are Italiano, what you do is eat mostly pasta all around your week.
And there are people, including me, that they have it maybe twice a day for lunch and dinner as well. I realized that I’m in love with pasta and carbohydrates, and I think they are like a drug.
So you want it more and more and more.
And we love pasta. And I’m not the only one who does that pasta, though it can be very much heavy.
I decided to implement a new nutritional plan, and it’s been now three months that you reasonably cut the amount of pasta and pizza I’m having.
And I’m not going to go into details, but essentially sport was a major driver for me. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose what I love, which is pasta, which is eating.
So according to the International Association for the Study of Obesity, just 9% of people in Italy are heavy enough to be considered obese, compared to 32% of Americans. Why don’t we get fat?
Well, I think it’s a misconception because we do get fat. If I don’t pay attention to what I’m eating, usually I might get fat quite fast as well.
But at the same time, what I think for most of people is working well is the fact that they very worried, apart from pasta and rice and other carpet rates, they might just enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle of heating, which I think is called cuccino Mediterranean Italian, which means we just have a good amount of vegetables, tomatoes, salads.
We just combine these sorts of elements to have balanced diet in a certain sense. And the majority of us, they just enjoy sport, enjoy life around.
Obviously, the weather is quite nice throughout the year, go out, enjoy and do some running or tennis, football, whatever it might be. So you burn a lot of calories.
And even though you just have a good lunch, a good dinner, you always have time to burn your fat and to burn what you essentially had the same day or the day before.
I think that’s the secret.
And you might argue that it’s not enough, and possibly it’s not because good part of it is what we eat. And I think we lost the good food we used to have because nowadays we don’t tend to eat what we produce here.
Globalization obviously has put a big strain on this because oranges that come from Spain, for instance, and we could have it here, but we just don’t do it because it’s better for the economy, I suppose, or whatever interest it might be. There is this sort of circle around for food traveling all around the globe.
But I think if you want to live and if you want to stay fit, if you want to stay well with yourself, you just have to eat well and you just have to follow a nutritional plan. Just follow what I learned during my lifetime and what my parents and my routes really given me. So I just followed the routine, to be honest.
And from my time spent in Denmark and the UK and occasional visits for holidays in other regions like US or Spain or France, I think, especially for the UK and the US. What you see is that there’s a lot of so called junk food, which is what I usually tend to avoid and we tend to avoid, although we do have McDonald’s, we do have potato chips and all of this and a lot of very heavy stuff.
So I think you should completely remove this from your daily habits and perhaps you can allow yourself to have it once a month or something like that. Although it’s difficult, I know. So it’s not about that.
Americans or other countries, they don’t know Italian habits and Italian food because they do go to Italian restaurants and have Italian food.
We don’t go to restaurants every day for lunch and dinner.
We just go there sometimes, perhaps in the weekend, perhaps when we want to celebrate or something. So you should realize that having good Italian food and stay well with yourself, it’s not just go to the restaurant and enjoying, it’s more about a lifestyle. It’s more of just taking care of your body and what you eat because you prepare it yourself.
So every one of us is essentially skilled enough to make some pasta, to do some nice Cardinal, which is meat. We tend to get a ground zero in this case.
So we start from the basic. So we just Cook. We love it. And that’s what makes us different as well, because we are able to control what we have in our tables and we just don’t rely only on others to do some stuff.
Because if you want to control something, you have to master it, you have to know it and then you can control it.
So we are born and raised with this sort of culture that you need to understand and you can implement whatever country you might be in. It’s not necessarily for those that are born and live in Italy. You can start tomorrow if you are based in the US or in the UK to do what I do today.
Obviously the quality of food might be different. But as I said, globalization is a major problem.
And obviously it makes impossible or almost impossible for grown products in a certain part of the world to stay there. We call it 0 km product, which means they are just produced here and we have it here just around the corner.
But it’s more and more common that it’s not this way. Another thing is that portions are much smaller than you might think. Perhaps if you are based in the US especially or I saw this in the UK as well.
Portions are much larger elsewhere than in Italy.
So for instance, if I do some pasta, I’m not going to go over the 80 grams as my portion.
Sometimes I might go around the 100 grams, but it’s just a reasonable amount of pasta. It’s not something massive that I can’t really hit because it’s too much. If I have some meat, for instance, some beef, I just go for the 100 grams.
If I’m going to have some salad, I’m going to go for 150 grams. So it is quite combined in this way and there is no sort of 100 rule. I just made it up obviously. But you just need to be careful in what you eat as well as how much you eat.
Do not just pour everything in your plate and have it as it is.
The major secret honestly is to go out and spend some time out there and just do some activities, some sports, at least walking and 1 hour a day I think is enough. If you want to break it in ten minutes each time that you go out or whatever it might be, just leave the car somewhere and go on a walk.
It’s going to make you feel better. It’s going to make you stay better and live longer. In Sardinia, we know for a fact that we’ve got very good high amount of people that are going over 80, 90 years old and we do have some that live longer than 100 years.
The land I come from, Sardinia, is a blue zone.
This is how it is defined and essentially I’m going to read this. Researchers have found that there are nearly ten times more centenarians per capita than in the United States.
So this is the first blue zone, which is an area region of the world where people live significantly longer than average lives currently.
The secret of this is the fact that there is some sort of a gene transfer here where apparently they all descend from the same person many centuries ago.
And this is passing through generation by generation and still it is existing. And if I look at my grandparents, for instance, my grandmother from my father just died from Covid actually last year and she was 91 years old.
The other grandmother from my mother is basically 88 years old. And I don’t know if you ask her, what’s your secret? What did you do?
She just will tell you that she didn’t do anything in particular, just eating well and preserving essentially the environment that she grew up with and grew up in as well. I think that’s the answer she would give me.
I’ve never asked her to be honest but knowing that I think that’s the answer about this.
There is a very nice documentary on Netflix from Zach Efron that he visited Sardinia last year and he just interviewed a few older people from Sardinia and some scientists as well and they were talking about this so I would highly recommend to look at it.
Here is the trailer of the show produced by Netflix and hosted by Zac Efron.
It became apparent that wine was also a potential source for this because apparently we have good wine here and good grape to make wine from and that was for someone some sort of a secret as well and this was especially in one region of Sardinia which is the very center of it.
I’m in the south and hopefully I’m benefiting from the waves that are moving around and I’m just 36 years old so there is a long way to go.
Hopefully I might witness a lot of stuff yet to come avoid junk food and be more Italian in this way.
Let me know your thoughts here on the comments below. What would you like to hear next?