healthy diet, plant based diet

What is this “longevity” diet, and will it really make you live longer?

You may have heard of the Longevity Diet, and its promise to extend life – but what exactly is it and is it different from other diets that promote good health? The Longevity Diet is a set of eating recommendations compiled by biochemist Walter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.

He is known for his research on the role of fasting, the effect of nutrients on your genes and how they can affect aging and disease risk.

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While the extended-release diet was aimed at the elderly, it is also recommended for young adults. Longo said he plans to live to 120 by following the diet.

So what does the diet look like?

The foods in this diet are vegetablesThese include leafy greens, fruits, nuts, beans, olive oil, and seafood that are low in mercury.

So most of the foods in the Longevity Diet are plant-based. Plant-based diets are generally high in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants, and low in saturated fats and salt, which leads to health benefits.

Foods that are not recommended are excess meat and dairy products, and those high in processed sugar and saturated fat.

For people who do not wish to not eat dairy products, the Long Life Diet advises switching from cow’s milk to goat’s milk or sheep’s milk, which contain slightly different nutrients.

But there is little evidence that sheep and goat milk provide more health benefits.

Including fermented dairy products (such as cheese and yogurt) in your diet, as recommended in the long-life diet, is beneficial because it provides a more widespread microbiome (good bacteria) than any other. milk.

Have you seen this diet before?

Many of you may recognize this as a familiar eating pattern. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet, especially since they both contain olive oil as the preferred oil.

The Mediterranean diet is reinforced and supported by a large body of evidence for promoting health, reducing disease risk, and promoting longevity.

The Longevity Diet is also similar to many of the national, evidence-based dietary guidelines, including the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

Two-thirds of the foods recommended in the Australian Dietary Guidelines come from plant foods (grains, cereals, legumes, beans, fruits and vegetables).

The guidelines also provide plant-based alternatives to protein (such as dried beans, lentils, and tofu) and dairy products (such as soy milk, Yogurt and cheese, as long as it is fortified with calcium).

intermittent fasting

Another aspect of the longevity diet is defined fasting periods, known as intermittent fasting. The diet calls for eating within a 12-hour time frame, and not eating for three to four hours before bedtime.

Usually with intermittent fasting people fast for 16-20 hours with a window of four to eight hours for eating.

Another option for intermittent fasting is the 5:2 diet, in which food intake is limited to about 2000-3000 kilojoules for two days of the week and for the other five days, eat normally.

Evidence suggests that intermittent fasting may improve insulin resistance, resulting in better blood glucose control. This can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and obesity.

The Longevity Diet targeted the elderly (Source: Pixabi)

Maintain a healthy weight

The Longevity Diet recommends that people who are overweight eat only two meals a day – breakfast and either a midday or evening meal – plus only two low-sugar snacks. This is to try to reduce your intake of kilojoules to lose weight.

Another important aspect of this recommendation is to reduce snacks, especially foods high in saturated fat, salt or sugar.

These are the foods we usually refer to as discretionary foods/sometimes foods or ultra-processed foods. These provide little nutritional value, and in some cases are associated with worse health outcomes.

Eat a rainbow of colors

The Longevity Diet recommends eating nutrient-dense foods, which most national dietary guidelines also advocate for. This means eating a diet rich in plant foods, and a variety of foods within each food group.

Each colorful fruit and vegetable contains different nutrients, so it is recommended to eat a combination of colorful fruits and vegetables.

The recommendation is to choose a combination of whole grains rather than refined grains, bread, macaroni Rice also reflects the best nutritional evidence.

Restricting protein intake

This diet recommends restricting protein intake to 0.68-0.80 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

This is 47-56g of protein per day for a 70kg person.

For reference, each of these foods contains about 10g of protein: 2 small eggs, 30g cheese, 40g lean chicken, 250ml dairy milk, 3/4 cup lentils, 120g tofu, 60g nuts or 300ml soy milk . This is in line with government recommendations.

Most Australians easily consume this level of protein in their diet. However, it is the elderly population, targeted by the long-lived diet, who are least likely to meet their protein needs.

In the long-lived diet, it is recommended that most of the protein comes from plant sources or from fish. This may require special planning to ensure a full range of all nutrients needed if the diet is short on red meat.

Are there any problems with this diet?

This diet recommends taking a vitamin and mineral supplement every three to four days. Longo says this prevents malnutrition and won’t cause any nutritional problems.

However, many health bodies including the World Cancer Research Fund, the British Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association do not recommend taking nutritional supplements for prevention. cancer or heart disease.

Supplements should only be taken on the advice of your doctor, after a blood test that shows a deficiency in a particular nutrient. This is because some vitamins and minerals may be harmful in large amounts.

If you are eating a variety of foods in all of the food groups, you are meeting all of your nutritional requirements and you should not need supplementation.


This extended-release diet is a compilation of many aspects of evidence-based healthy eating patterns. We really encourage these because they improve our health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. All of these aspects of healthy eating can lead to increased longevity.

What is not mentioned in the Life Extension Diet is the importance of exercise for good health and a long life.

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