Archive | Science & Health

The Mid-Victorian Diet: the Healthiest Diet You’ve Never Heard of

The mid-Victorian diet may be the most healthy diet you’ve never heard of. The years between 1850 and 1872 in England may have been a “mini golden age of nutrition”:

Spectator Health: Forget paleo, go mid-Victorian: it’s the healthiest diet

People ate a varied diet, high in nutrients, and there was no famine. Provided people lived through their childhood years – infant mortality was still high – they had almost the same life expectancy as now, around 74 years. And apparently many people lived healthy full lives, with agricultural laborers regularly working into their 70s.

Then something happened and health and life expectancy took a dive, reaching a bottom around the year 1900.

Interestingly this drop in health coincided perfectly with the introduction of vast quantities of cheap refined sugar into the diet.

Continue Reading →


Seven Tips for 40-Somethings Who Want a Healthy Old Age

Are you in your 40-somethings, like me? Do you want a healthy old age? Here are seven good tips from Dr. Rangan Chatterjee:

Mail Online: Seven tips for 40-somethings who want a healthy old age: Doctor devises lifestyle plan to help us remain ailment-free

Here’s the short version:

  1. Check your blood pressure
  2. Test your blood sugar
  3. Cut carbohydrates
  4. Meditate
  5. Relax on cholesterol
  6. Fast for fitness
  7. Junk the junk food

Personally I have six down – perhaps I should start meditating again.

The only important thing I’m missing from the list is sleep. Getting a full 8-hour sleep most nights is also a great way to reduce stress levels (plus its many other benefits).

Regarding blood pressure only a third of adult Americans have a normal blood pressure these days (below 120/80). And both my parents have needed medication for high blood pressure, so I almost certainly would start seeing at least borderline pressure at 43, if I lived like most people. And yet my blood pressure is consistently well within the normal range. I tested it again this morning – 113/71. I credit this to following tip number 3, 6 and 7.

Which tip would you most like to start following?


Could Drinking Milk Shorten Your Life?


A big new Swedish study on milk consumption has gained some attention. It suggests that people who drink a lot of milk live shorter lives on average, and perhaps in addition have an increased risk of bone fractures:

BBC: High milk diet “may not cut risk of bone fractures”

Again, this is only based on statistics from questionnaires – i.e. an observational study. Thus it’s by no means proof that milk shortens life. To know for sure, the theory has to be tested in intervention studies, which is much harder and vastly more expensive.

But the statistics from the study are still worth pondering. My conclusion is that it’s wise to only drink milk regularly in larger quantities only as a child, not as an adult. Milk is very insulin stimulating, both through lactose, and through a special milk protein, which stimulates desirable growth in young children.

As an adult, it may be wiser to drink water on a regular basis and wine for festive occasions. As well as tea or coffee at your convenience.

Reducing milk consumption may also help to maintain a stable weight, by keeping insulin levels down. In particular, low-fat milk should be avoided. It could also be called white soda. Continue Reading →


New Year’s Tip: The Benefit of Not Smoking


Are you looking to quit smoking now that the new year is here? Then the statistics below – from a new article in The Lancet – may make you go for it.

A Decade

The graphs below illustrate how big the chance is for a 30-year-old to survive until a certain age, depending on wether they smoke or not:


What do the graphs show us? That non-smokers live on average a decade longer than smokers. The chance of reaching your 80th birthday is now good in the western world… unless you’re a smoker. Then you’ll probably die earlier.

Previous smokers who quit, according to the same article, dramatically improve their odds. They will live almost as long as people who never smoked.

Do you want to see your grandchildren grow up? Then dump the cigarettes.

The Taxation Route

The article also includes intriguing figures on what happens in countries applying a hefty penalty tax on cigarettes. Presumably, a similar tax on sugar would yield similar results: Continue Reading →


Does Semi-Starvation Prolong Life? Maybe Not


Semi-starvation has been thought to be life-prolonging in animals and perhaps even in humans. But a new experiment in monkeys casts a lot of doubt on that hypothesis:

New York Times: Severe Diet Doesn’t Prolong Life, at Least in Monkeys

In a way this is disappointing, in a way it’s good news. Who would want to be hungry forever?

Maybe there is a smarter way to actually prolong life though. Eating enough to feel great, but reducing carbs and insulin. Eventually we’ll see if the Rosedale-fans out there get really old, or not.

What do you think?


Longer Lives with Less Insulin?

This is a fascinating new TED talk. Certain genes, when activated, make worms, flies and mice live much longer. Almost identical genes exist in humans and may have the same effect. But these genes are turned off by insulin and IGF-1.

Cynthia Keynon curiously does not mention it in this talk, but drugs and gene therapy is not the only way to get this effect. There is another simpler way and she is doing it herself. Removing excess carbs from the diet is a very effective way to lower insulin and IGF-1, activating the long-life genes.

Here is an earlier interview with her: Can cutting carbohydrates from your diet make you live longer?