Want to know how long you could live if you adopted a healthier lifestyle permanently? There is a site that collects data from hundreds of studies, and elaborated an answer: If you are under 60 and eat a typical Western diet, excluding red meat and dairy products, you can live about an extra decade on average, or even longer.
"The expected lifespan extension is mainly due to a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer," he says. Lars Fadnes of the University of Bergen in Norway.
His team began with many meta-analyzes of the consequences of consuming various amounts of specific types of meals, such as red meat, dairy or fruit. These results were then integrated with the information on global mortality and what individuals currently eat to estimate the impact of a permanent diet change.
At the table you do not get old
The most optimistic lifespan extensions are based on a diet that aims to maximize health benefits. This optimized diet excludes red or processed meat, sugary drinks, dairy and egg consumption, and snacking during meals.
The team also looked at a 'doable' diet that is somewhere between the typical Western diet and the more 'optimized' one.
Some examples of the effects of eliminating red meat and dairy products
If a 20-year-old now (and permanently) switched from a typical Western diet to an optimized diet without red meat and dairy products, he would get the most benefit, living on average. 13 years older. For a woman, the equivalent figures are 11 years older. Eighty-year-olds of either sex would reap the least benefits, living approx three more years with the optimized diet. Throw them away.
And that's not all
The study's premise is solid and well thought-out, highlighting the paramount importance of diet to our overall health.
Estimated extensions, as mentioned, are obviously based on averages and should not be taken as customized forecasts. There are still several things to refine on the effects of other foods besides red meat. Knowledge about the effects of eggs, white meat and oil needs to be perfected. And then why set limits? The estimates do not take into account, for example, future improvements in medical care.
Pending a better definition of all these variables with future research, eating less red meat (but not only) and dairy products has anyway, and this is confirmed, benefits on the environment as well as health.
Journal reference: PLoS Medicine , DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pmed.1003889.t001