A new diet based on research into the body’s ageing process suggests you can increase your life expectancy by up to 20 years by changing what, when and how much you eat
I HAVE seen my future and it is full of beans, both literally and metaphorically. As well as upping my bean count, there will be a lot of vegetables, no meat, long periods of hunger and hardly any alcohol. But in return for this dietary discipline, my future will also be significantly longer and sprightlier. I am 52 and, on my current diet, can expect to live another 29 years. But if I change now, I could gain an extra decade and live in good health into my 90s.
This “longevity diet” isn’t just the latest fad, it is the product of more than a human lifespan of scientific research. And it isn’t merely designed to prevent illness, but to actually slow down the ageing process – that’s the claim, anyway.
Of course, it is a no-brainer to say that our diets can alter our lifespans. Worldwide, millions of people still die prematurely every year from lack of calories and nutrients. Meanwhile, an estimated 11 million die each year from too many calories and the wrong sort of nutrients. Scoffing more than we need inevitably leads to obesity and its pall-bearers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Typical Western diets are also high in sugars, refined starches and saturated fats and low in wholefoods, which add insult to injury by disrupting metabolism. That includes the excessive release of insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels under control and has a direct impact on ageing. Suffice to say that Western diets don’t push the longevity lever in the right direction. But is it really possible to eat oneself into a later grave? …