Dr. Morgan Levine discusses the profound link between diet and aging, leaning on observational data that compares different people’s diets with their health outcomes like disease risk and life expectancy.
Three key factors in diet affect aging: how much we eat, what we eat, and when we eat. Caloric restriction—cutting down about 20% of total calorie intake—has been shown in various animal models to potentially extend life.
The types of food we eat also matter; there’s growing evidence that plant-based diets and whole foods can positively impact aging. Minimizing harmful foods like refined sugars is also advised.
A rising trend in longevity research focuses on when we eat, suggesting that intermittent fasting can mimic the benefits seen with caloric restriction. This all seems to activate ‘hormesis,’ a mild stressor that makes our bodies more resilient over time.
The “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t apply; people’s unique biological and functional factors need to be considered for optimizing diet. The importance of lifestyle and behaviors in the aging process shouldn’t be underestimated.