Changing your diet could add up to a decade to life expectancy: Study

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A new model, available as an online calculator, estimates the impact of dietary changes on life expectancy

A young adult in the US could add more than a decade to their life expectancy (LE) by changing their diet from a typical Western diet to an optimized diet that includes more legumes, whole grains and nuts, and less red and processed meat, according to a new study by the University of Bergen, Norway. For older people, the anticipated gains to life expectancy from such dietary changes would be smaller but still substantial.

In the new study, researchers used 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 is also now available as a publicly available online tool called the Food4HealthyLife calculator.

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) and men (13).

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