Archive | Science & Health

Guess what the World’s Oldest Woman Had for Breakfast Every Morning?

The world’s oldest woman, 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones, just passed away. She was the last US person born in the 19th century.

What made her live so long? It’s impossible to know, but media reports something interesting:

Ms Jones always maintained that lots of sleep and no smoking or drinking were the main reasons she lived to celebrate her 116th birthday last year.

But perhaps it was due to the pleasures she allowed herself in life too. In an interview with Time Magazine last year, she admitted to eating four strips of bacon with scrambled egg every day.

An earlier article contains more details:

Jones’ favorite dish is bacon and eggs… The 116-year-old woman eats bacon and eggs every morning and her daily regime contains more than one portion of meat per day.

You would expect her to suffer from Type 2 diabetes and coronary diseases and yet, Susannah Mushatt Jones needs no special medical treatments. Doctors have all agreed she is in a perfect physical condition, in spite of the products she eats.

In spite of? Or because of?

Eggs and meat have been eaten by humans for millions of years, making us likely to be perfectly adapted to them. They should thus be perfectly healthy foods, way healthier than most modern processed foods.

It’s likely no coincidence that the fear of animal fats during the last few decades – and the corresponding increase in consumption of processed carbs – have coincided with an unprecedented epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

Susannah Mushatt Jones was perhaps already too old to care about the modern low-fat fad diet. Good for her.

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The Right Weight To Live Longer

If you want to live a long life, what weight should you try to stay at?

There have been earlier talk about an “obesity paradox“, as overweight people seem to live longer than normal weight people in some studies. This despite the connection between obesity and diseases like cancer, heart disease etc.

The “obesity paradox” idea has been heavily criticized as a statistical mistake, due to things like smoking and many diseases lowering both weight and life expectancy.

A new large review of 230 studies including 30 million people try to correct for this problem. In healthy never smokers, in studies with longer follow-up, it seems that normal weight is clearly associated with longer lives.

In fact the people who live the longest have lived most of their lives at a BMI of about 20-22, or at least below 25.

Interestingly this also means living with low insulin throughout life.

Do you want to lower your insulin and your weight? Check out our free guide:

How to Lose Weight

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Professor Robert Lustig and Dr. Peter Attia Discuss Sugar, Obesity and Longevity

Here’s a new discussion panel with two of my absolute favorite nutrition experts in the world: Professor Robert Lustig and Dr. Peter Attia.

They talk about sugar, obesity and metabolic syndrome (Lustig) and how to live longer (Attia) among other things. Worth watching if you’re interested in these topics.

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How to Eat Like a Queen

Queen Elizabeth II of England turns 90 in a couple of days, and still seems to be going strong. So what’s her secret? Perhaps it’s high-quality food.

It seems like the Queen of England is a low carber:

The Queen’s daily diet is mainly carbohydrate-free, consisting of grilled meat – usually chicken – or fish (she loves sole), served with two vegetables or a bowl of salad. Fruit follows. She is not keen on wine, but finishes the day with a Dubonnet and gin cocktail.

The Telegraph: The Queen’s Favourite Food: Chocolate, sole, and Dubonnet – but No Carbs

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The Secret Diet of the Fittest Senior Citizen on the Planet


Charles Eugster holds world records at a number of sprint distances… and he’s 96 years old! He may be the “fittest senior citizen on the planet”.

When he’s not sprinting he’s also a “body-builder, a public speaker, a writer, a rower, a wakeboarder, an entrepreneur, and a budding fashion designer, planning his own line in elderly couture.”

Pretty incredible! So what does he eat to stay in shape?

I avoid sugar and eat lots of meat, especially fat. I’ve been on a fat trip lately. Fat! Piles of fat. Yet, I was in a supermarket the other day and was perplexed to find yogurt with zero fat. What on earth is that? The idea of the nutrition pyramid where, at the top, is a little fat and meat, and at the bottom a lot of carbohydrates, is, excuse me, bullshit. Humans are so unbelievably stupid that we have begun to tinker with food. Our theories of nutrition have resulted in a pandemic of obesity. Can you imagine a hunter-gatherer enjoying a low-fat yogurt? Let me tell you this, too: I read a report recently which said that a fatty diet also increases your libido.

He’s clearly not just in good shape, he’s smart too. The whole article about him is an amazing read:

Vice: The Healthiest Old Person on the Planet Explains How to Stay in Shape

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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.

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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?