Seems like just about every bit of advice you run across about healthy aging is designed to make you miserable.
Quit your favorite foods. Spend hours a day exercising. Swear off alcohol. You know the drill.
But do you really want to make that trade? After all, what good are the extra years if you can’t enjoy them?
Here’s the dirty secret all of those killjoys hope you never learn. You DON’T have to live like a monk to have a long and healthy life.
You can coast through your golden years… keep indulging in the things you love the most… and STILL make it to a ripe old age in good health.
And the latest research takes one of the most common pieces of mainstream advice about health and longevity and turns it UPSIDE DOWN.
A fly in the longevity ointment
In some circles, it’s considered the ultimate secret to outsmarting aging. I’m sure you’ve heard the advice before yourself.
The thinner you are, the better your odds of ducking disease and living longer. And some so-called experts have taken things even further in the last few years. They claim that the key to a long life is in never enjoying a decent meal again.
You have to eat very, VERY little if you hope to live very, very long, they say. ABC’s 20/20 show even did a whole report on people following this crazy lifestyle.
But new research throws a bucket of cold water on the theory. It turns out there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Or, in this case, a fruit fly.
The study focused on fruit flies. And I usually wouldn’t give a buzz about a bunch of bugs except for one thing. Many studies pushing those crazy calorie-restricted diets, especially for longevity, were ALSO done on those very same tiny flies.
Also, there’s a reason they love to study fruit flies. It’s because, on a genetic level, we have some key similarities. More than 60 percent of human disease genes have a matching gene in fruit flies, for example.
And that’s where this new study focused. It looked at the genetic level and found that 97 percent of fruit fly genes showed a health or longevity benefit for calorie restriction.
But then they looked even deeper. And hold on to your hat, because we’re about to flip this starvation theory upside down.
You DON’T have to starve yourself to live longer
They found that only HALF of the bugs actually responded on both levels. And that’s not all. Of the other half, 13 percent died FASTER with calorie restriction. Another five percent did live longer… but in poorer health.
The other 32 percent showed nothing. Practically starving neither hurt nor helped. But I bet those fruit flies were whatever the equivalent of miserable is for a bug.
This means we need to be really careful about how we apply these findings to humans. And just as the genetics can vary from fly to fly, of course, they differ from person to person.
In other words, there’s no need to starve yourself in a quest for longer life. As the fruit flies show, that path to longevity could turn out to be… well… fruitless.
There are simpler ways to live longer and better WITHOUT giving up all of the things you love. In fact, in some cases, you should do more of the things you love, including some so-called bad habits.
Take booze, for example. In moderation, it could cut the risk of early death by 18 percent. In your 70s or beyond? Being just a little overweight may actually CUT your death risk by three percent. And picking up a fun hobby could cut your risk of dying “too soon” by 21 percent.
You don’t have to make a choice between living well and living longer. You can do BOTH… and love every minute of it.