The Buffett Diet: Investor’s Secret to Long Life Is Soda and Ice Cream
When Warren Buffett makes a passing remark about money, it might very well be spun into a national economic policy platform.
That’s what happened when the so-called Oracle of Omaha said in 2011 that his secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than he does. Since then, the Buffett Rule has become a key element of President Obama’s proposed tax reforms. But in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of Buffett’s annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway investors, which is expected this weekend, the talk has centered squarely not on investment strategies but, rather, on the octogenarian’s eating habits. As Fortune reported him as saying Wednesday, “I eat like a six-year-old.”
For Buffett, that means ice cream for breakfast, snacking on potato sticks, and drinking a whole lot of Coke—as many as five 12-ounce servings a day. That’s 700 calories and 195 grams of sugar, or as Buffett put it to Fortune: “I’m one quarter Coca-Cola.”
If the Buffett diet enters the lexicon like the Buffett Rule, its namesake is going to hit pay dirt: Buffett owns $16 billion in Coke stock.
As diets go, this probably isn’t the best one to adopt, even if the idea of ice cream for breakfast sounds delightful. According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, drinking just one soda a day can make you 25 percent more likely to become obese. High levels of soda consumption can increase levels of fat in the liver, potentially leading to type 2 diabetes. A bill recently introduced in the California legislature would require beverages with more than 75 calories per 12 ounces—a can of Coke has 140 calories—to bear a warning label stating, “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
To Buffett’s credit, the diet does have a certain logic to it, as he explained to Fortune. “I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among six-year-olds. So I decided to eat like a six-year-old,” he said. “It’s the safest course I can take.”