Study: Simple Change Could Add Years To Life
People who change their diet can add up to 13 years to their lifespan, a new study has found.
Researchers were inspired to conduct the study, in part, because, globally, dietary risk factors cause an estimated 11 million deaths and the loss of 255 million years of life each year.
The study estimated how life expectancy is impacted by sustained changes in the intake of food such as “fruits, vegetables, whole grains, refined grains, nuts, legumes, fish, eggs, milk/dairy, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.”
Research found that making a sustained change at age 20 from a “typical Western diet” to an optimized diet would increase life expectancy by more than a decade for women from the United States and by 13 years for men.
But even those who do not completely overhaul their diets still see benefits.
The study found that making a sustained change at age 20 from a typical Western diet to a feasibility approach diet, a midpoint between the typical Western diet and an optimized diet, would increase life expectancy by 6.2 years for women and 7.3 for men.
Data shows a positive impact not just for people changing their diet at 20 years of age but for all age groups, though it noted that “gains are predicted to be larger the earlier the dietary changes are initiated in life.”
Changing from a typical Western diet to an optimized diet at age 60 would increase life expectancy by 8 years for women and 8.8 years for men, and those making a sustained change at age 80 would gain about 3.4 years.
To maximize the impact on life expectancy, people should eat more legumes, whole grains and nuts and less red meat and processed meat, according to the study.