Sonoma Diet™ Practice, Theory, and Evidence


There is a risk for weight gain due to a high intake of fats. Consult a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
There is a risk for reduced iron levels and possible calcium loss resulting from the reduced consumption of dairy products. A qualified health professional should be consulted to determine if additional supplementation is necessary.
Avoid alcohol if pregnant, breastfeeding, or at risk for breast cancer. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, red wine consumption is not recommended in pregnant women, as alcohol may affect the fetus and can lead to life-threatening damage.
Based on clinical studies, the Sonoma Diet™ is likely safe for pregnant women, with the exception of alcohol consumption. However, the diet may be lacking in iron and supplementation may be necessary.
Consumption of large quantities of red wine as a source of resveratrol is considered unsafe due to the alcohol content. According to the American Heart Association, a large amount of alcohol consumption increases the risk of alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide, and accidents. Drinking large quantities of red wine may also have adverse effects on the liver. Preliminary evidence suggests that resveratrol may weakly inhibit the way that the liver breaks down certain drugs, herbs, and supplements (inhibits multiple cytochrome P450 enzymes). Avoid red wine consumption in patients with a history of alcoholism.
The diet cannot be recommended for children before of a lack of available data.


Weight loss is recommended for those who are obese (BMI ≥30kg/m2) and for those who are classified as overweight (BMI of 25-29.9kg/m2) or have a high waist circumference and two or more risk factors.
The Sonoma Diet™ encourages moderate consumption of wines with meals. Wine, particularly red wine, contains resveratrol, a chemical that has been shown in recent animal and laboratory studies to exhibit antioxidant, anticancer, antiproliferative, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial effects. While data in humans is lacking, moderate consumption of wine is also a part of the Mediterranean diet.
Olive oil, the main fatty component of the Sonoma Diet™, is characterized by monounsaturated fatty acids as well as by its elevated content of antioxidant agents. An antioxidant is thought to protect the body's cells from the damaging effects of oxidation by scavenging for free radicals (highly reactive molecules that attack cells in the body) generated during the metabolic processes of the body. The high portion of monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil may cause a decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol, which may diminish the risk of suffering from heart troubles. Although there have been several studies linking olive oil consumption to cholesterol regulation and free radical scavenging in humans, animal studies have suggested that fats (olive oil) in the Sonoma Diet™ may harm blood vessels. Thus, there is still controversy over the safety and efficacy of olive oil and its role in the Sonoma Diet™.
Wine and olive oil, essential components of the Sonoma Diet™, are considered important additions to a healthy lifestyle because of their tyrosol and caffeic acid content. Tyrosol is a substance that may help prevent "bad" cholesterol. Studies have suggested that caffeic acid may have antimitogenic, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties.
A 2007 article in the "Mayo Clinic Proceedings" stated that treatment of obesity requires a physician and patient to tackle diet, physical activity, and behavioral issues. In some cases, medication and surgical treatments not discussed in the Sonoma Diet™ may be warranted.