3

votes

If conventional wisdom about diet is so wrong why are more people living to be 100?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 30, 2010 at 3:18 PM

The BBC announced today that 1 in 5 people in the UK will live to be 100. They attribute this to better nutrition! Are they right or is it really to do with less people smoking, fewer fatal infectious diseases and people being kept alive with surgery and drugs? Are we keeping people alive artificially? This news seems at odds with the growing numbers of obese people and the increase in heart disease, cancers, etc. Is this just typical media distortion of statistics? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12091758

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 19, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Sarah-Ann, thanks so much for posting that link. What a delight it was to watch Jack Lalanne. He packed a lot in that three minutes.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 31, 2010
at 03:17 PM

And this in the NY Times today: "“Deny” is the word the hucksters of longevity should be using. Nearly half of the old old — the fastest-growing segment of the over-65 population — will spend some time in a nursing home before they die, as a result of mental or physical disability." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/opinion/31jacoby.html?_r=1&hp

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 30, 2010
at 09:42 PM

Yeah, all the women in my family who are in their 90s are strict undereaters

A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

(4183)

on December 30, 2010
at 09:05 PM

If you make it to 100 now, you have incredibly good genes (and very high HDL unsurprisingly), if you make it to 80 now you'll more than likely to have lived the preceding 10 years of your life in slow decline. 100 is the future 80, so probably a longer period of incapacity if we extrapolate.

26f1c6e9fbecc4ac6948f8f395979a81

(503)

on December 30, 2010
at 07:00 PM

Exactly! It's not just the number of years but what you're doing with them. I don't want to be in a wheelchair and taking 10+ pills/day when I'm 80. I want to be hiking, riding a bike and eating a huge steak with my own teeth.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 30, 2010
at 05:42 PM

Have you ever noticed that the features of people 100+ (in newspapers, media reports), they seem to be spry for the most part. Seems like, if they make it to 100, they're not just on life support, but they possess uncommonly good genes. Of course, if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be featured on media reports...anyone know any centenarians that are in horrible condition?

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 30, 2010
at 04:29 PM

My great grandmother-in-law lived past 100. She ate very, very little. Strict kosher. She favored boiled eggs and diet tonic water. Also baked potatoes and latkas. She also liked to sneak potato chips but these "cheats" were never huge. She probably didn't exceed 800-900 calories. More like 500 on any given day.

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7 Answers

8
A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

on December 30, 2010
at 03:24 PM

Medical science is fantastically good at prolonging decline into frailty and ultimate death.

Dr. Eades addressed this in a blog post before:

http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-diets/jack-lalanne-vs-ancel-keys/

Life expectancy is a very loose metric nowadays. A more accurate measure is years of healthy, independent life, but as far as I know no one has measured that across countries.

A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

(4183)

on December 30, 2010
at 09:05 PM

If you make it to 100 now, you have incredibly good genes (and very high HDL unsurprisingly), if you make it to 80 now you'll more than likely to have lived the preceding 10 years of your life in slow decline. 100 is the future 80, so probably a longer period of incapacity if we extrapolate.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 30, 2010
at 05:42 PM

Have you ever noticed that the features of people 100+ (in newspapers, media reports), they seem to be spry for the most part. Seems like, if they make it to 100, they're not just on life support, but they possess uncommonly good genes. Of course, if they didn't, they probably wouldn't be featured on media reports...anyone know any centenarians that are in horrible condition?

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 31, 2010
at 03:17 PM

And this in the NY Times today: "“Deny” is the word the hucksters of longevity should be using. Nearly half of the old old — the fastest-growing segment of the over-65 population — will spend some time in a nursing home before they die, as a result of mental or physical disability." http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/31/opinion/31jacoby.html?_r=1&hp

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on January 19, 2011
at 11:33 PM

Sarah-Ann, thanks so much for posting that link. What a delight it was to watch Jack Lalanne. He packed a lot in that three minutes.

5
Ce57a94251224f9696faf47f9ca630a0

(858)

on December 30, 2010
at 04:16 PM

Sure, plenty of people are living longer, but there is a massive group of elderly that are not having what I would like to call Quality Living. Being pumped full of meds, living with the cascade of side-effects from those meds, and being trapped in my home/living facility while being bullied to eat low-fat and whole grains sound like a torturous existence to me.

26f1c6e9fbecc4ac6948f8f395979a81

(503)

on December 30, 2010
at 07:00 PM

Exactly! It's not just the number of years but what you're doing with them. I don't want to be in a wheelchair and taking 10+ pills/day when I'm 80. I want to be hiking, riding a bike and eating a huge steak with my own teeth.

4
5740abb0fa033403978dd988b0609dfd

on December 30, 2010
at 07:53 PM

I was thinking about something similar to this topic the other day. For 20-30 years the good of the population quitting smoking overwhelmed the bad from eating refined sugar and flour. Now that most of the population has already quit smoking, there is no other driver to mask the effect of the health experts bad advice.

Hopefully there is going to be a comeuppance as the internet gets the Paleo meme out to more and more people. Before the internet, people would not have been able to share their self-experimentation results on a broad scale. The "experts" were like the church of old, making statements that could go unchallenged because they had a monopoly on information distribution. Their critics were kept diffused and isolated.

As for the growing number and ratio of 100 y.o.'s it is largely 1) demographics, less children being born means a lessening of base of the population pyramid thereby increasing the ratio of 100 y.o.'s, and 2) today's 100 y.o.'s were born after infectious disease was easily treated, but before the S in SAD was in effect. Today's 100 y.o.'s were in their 40's or better before flour, franken-oils, and sugar drinks became diet staples. Check back in 50 years and see what the number of 100 y.o.'s look like. Actually, the ratio might still be favorable given the still dropping birth-rates, but after adjusting for the bulge from the baby boom I bet it will be worse than would be expected given the raw numbers.

4
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on December 30, 2010
at 04:48 PM

A possible vector is that they lived their younger years before the low-fat craze started taking place in the 1960s and 1970s.

That is certainly not the whole complex situation, but I thought we might want to keep that in mind.

3
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 30, 2010
at 03:32 PM

Some of those people weren't following conventional advice. I have a relative who will be 100 next year and she always ate a high-fat diet.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 30, 2010
at 04:29 PM

My great grandmother-in-law lived past 100. She ate very, very little. Strict kosher. She favored boiled eggs and diet tonic water. Also baked potatoes and latkas. She also liked to sneak potato chips but these "cheats" were never huge. She probably didn't exceed 800-900 calories. More like 500 on any given day.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on December 30, 2010
at 09:42 PM

Yeah, all the women in my family who are in their 90s are strict undereaters

2
8ce2e69af79dcb1488f776efc1c54052

on December 30, 2010
at 03:38 PM

While advances in medicine have helped us to live longer, I have read that my son's generation (he's 14) will be the first generation to have a shorter life span than the previous generation due largely to problems associated with obesity.

1
D7f0c256075425177d86d4e129ae44f5

(10)

on December 30, 2010
at 11:01 PM

I find this BBC article hard to believe. Especially since many believe that life expectancy is more likely to decline in western countries in the near future.

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr043743

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/17/health/17obese.html?_r=1

This could be especially true for England since they seem to be getting obese at a very high/fast rate

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