A healthier diet could add 10 years to your life, study finds

Credit: Unsplash+

An international study has found that switching from a typical Western diet to a healthier one could potentially extend the life expectancy of the average middle-aged person by up to 10 years.

The study, published in the journal Nature Food, analyzed dietary data from participants in the UK Biobank study, shedding light on the significant impact of dietary choices on overall health and longevity.

The Consequences of Unhealthy Diets

Previous research has demonstrated that unhealthy diets contribute to over 75,000 premature deaths annually in the United Kingdom alone.

Similarly, various studies have indicated that adopting healthier eating patterns could reduce the risk of premature death for individuals residing in the United States.

The research team accessed data from the UK Biobank study, a long-term research initiative focused on investigating the interplay between genetic predisposition and environmental factors in the development of diseases.

This extensive study, launched in 2006, involves collecting comprehensive data from half a million volunteers in the United Kingdom, all of whom enrolled between the ages of 40 and 69. The study’s goal is to monitor the health of participants for at least 30 years.

Analyzing Dietary Habits and Shifting Patterns

For this study, the researchers specifically examined the dietary habits of all the UK Biobank study participants.

They sought to explore the connection between dietary behaviors and life expectancy by categorizing individuals based on their eating patterns and tracking how these patterns evolved over time.

The Impact of Dietary Shifts on Life Expectancy

By comparing the outcomes of individuals who transitioned from unhealthy to healthy dietary patterns with those who did not make such shifts, the researchers made a compelling discovery.

They found that middle-aged individuals who made the switch from an unhealthy diet to a healthy one and maintained this improved pattern were able to add nearly 10 years to their life expectancy, on average.

While switching to healthier eating later in life also extended life expectancy, the increase was not as significant.

Policy Implications for Improving Public Health

The study’s findings hold implications for governments and health authorities worldwide.

It suggests that policymakers can play a pivotal role in enhancing overall life expectancy by implementing measures such as taxing unhealthy foods and subsidizing healthier alternatives.

Such policy changes have the potential to encourage individuals to make healthier dietary choices, leading to longer and healthier lives for communities as a whole.

In conclusion, this research underscores the profound impact of dietary choices on longevity and public health.

It highlights the importance of promoting healthier eating habits and the potential for significant gains in life expectancy through dietary improvements, especially among middle-aged individuals.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about Best dieting method for people with type 2 diabetes and findings of This nutrient in diet may lower vision loss risk in older people.

For more information about diet, please see recent studies about How to manage gout through diet: your guide to what to eat and avoid and results showing that The power of high-fiber diets for a healthy digestive system.

The research findings can be found in Nature Food.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.