Of course, your customers (as well as yourself and your loved ones) all want to be able to savor every last bite of life before one’s plate is clean for good. There is no magic fountain of youth, but, as natural products retailers, your entire business is devoted to helping customers of all ages to be as healthy for as long as possible. This is not only accomplished through appropriate supplementation and types of foods one eats as a diet, but other related behaviors as well.
According to a new study, changing one’s diet could dramatically impact life expectancy—by adding up to a decade more. The researchers assert that today, a young adult in the U.S. could add more than a decade to his/her life expectancy by changing the diet from a typical Western to an optimized diet that includes more legumes, whole grains and nuts, and less red and processed meat. For older people, the anticipated gains to life expectancy from such dietary changes would be smaller but still substantial.
In this new study, researchers reviewed existing meta-analyses and data from the Global Burden of Diseases study to build a model that enables the instant estimation of the effect on life expectancy (LE) of a range of dietary changes. The model, called the Food4HealthyLife calculator, can be accessed at www.food4healthylife.org.
For young adults in the United States, the model estimates that a sustained change from a typical Western diet to the optimal diet beginning at age 20 would increase LE by more than a decade for women (10.7 years) and men (13.0 years). The largest gains in years of LE would be made by eating more legumes (females: 2.2, males: 2.5), more whole grains (females: 2.0, males: 2.3), and more nuts (females: 1.7, males: 2.0), less red meat (females: 1.6, males: 1.9) and less processed meat (females: 1.6, males: 1.9). Changing from a typical diet to the optimized diet at age 60 years could still increase LE by 8.0 years for women and 8.8 years for men, and 80-year-olds could gain 3.4 years for men and women from such dietary changes.
"Understanding the relative health potential of different food groups could enable people to make feasible and significant health gains," the authors say. "The Food4HealthyLife calculator could be a useful tool for clinicians, policy makers, and lay-people to understand the health impact of dietary choices."
Fadnes added, "Research until now have shown health benefits associated with separate food group or specific diet patterns but given limited information on the health impact of other diet changes. Our modeling methodology has bridged this gap."
Fadnes LT, et al. “Estimating impact of food choices on life expectancy: A modeling study.” PLOS Medicine, 2022; 19 (2): e1003889.