HomeHealth & FitnessWhat is this 'longevity' diet, and will it really make you live...

What is this ‘longevity’ diet, and will it really make you live longer?

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

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

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While the Longevity Diet is targeted at older adults, it is recommended for younger people as well. Longo has said that he plans to live to 120 by following this diet.

So, what does the diet look like?

Foods in this diet are vegetablesLeafy 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 and minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and low in saturated fat and salt, leading to health benefits.

Foods that are discouraged are those high in meat and dairy, and high in processed sugar and saturated fat.

For those who don’t want to go without dairy, the Longevity Diet recommends switching from cow’s milk to goat or sheep’s milk, which has a slightly different nutrient content.

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

Including fermented dairy (such as cheese and yogurt) in your diet, as recommended in the Longevity Diet, is beneficial because it provides a more extensive microbiome (good bacteria) than any other. Milk,

Have you seen this diet before?

Many of you may recognize this as a familiar dietary pattern. This is similar to the Mediterranean diet, in particular that both contain olive oil as the oil of choice.

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

The Longevity Diet is similar to several national, evidence-based dietary guidelines, including those in Australia.

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

The guidelines also provide plant-based alternatives to protein (such as dried beans, lentils and tofu) and dairy (such as soy-based milk). Curd and cheese, as long as they are supplemented with calcium).

intermittent fasting

Another aspect of the Longevity Diet is specified periods of fasting, known as intermittent fasting. The diet advocates eating within a 12-hour time frame, and eating no more than three to four hours before bedtime.

Intermittent fasters typically fast for 16-20 hours with a four- to eight-hour window of eating.

Another intermittent fasting option is the 5:2 diet, which restricts eating to about 2,000–3,000 kilojoules for two days of the week and moderately for the other five days.

Evidence indicates that intermittent fasting can improve insulin resistance, leading to better control of blood sugar. It can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and obesity.

Meal.  diet, longevity The Longevity Diet is targeted at older adults (source: Pixabee)

maintain a healthy weight

The Longevity Diet recommends that people who are overweight eat only two meals a day — breakfast and either lunch or evening meal — plus only two low-sugar snacks. This is like trying to reduce your intake of kilojoules for weight loss.

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

These are the foods we commonly refer to as discretionary/occasional foods, or ultra-processed foods. These offer little nutritional value, and are associated with poor health outcomes in some cases.

eat the rainbow of colors

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

Each colored fruit and vegetable has different nutrients, so it is advisable to eat a variety of colored fruits and vegetables.

recommend choosing a range of whole grains over refined grains, breads, Pasta And rice also shows the best nutritional evidence.

limit protein intake

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

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

For reference, each of these foods contains about 10 grams of protein: two small eggs, 30 grams of cottage cheese, 40 grams of lean chicken, 250 mL of dairy milk, 3/4 cup of lentils, 120 grams of tofu, 60 grams of nuts or 300 mL Soy milk. This is in line with the recommendations of the Government.

Most Australians easily consume this level of protein in their diet. However it is the elderly population that the longevity diet is targeted for, which is less likely to meet its protein requirements.

The Longevity Diet recommends that most protein come from plant sources or fish. Special planning may be needed to ensure a full range of all the nutrients needed if the diet does not contain red meat.

Are there any problems with this diet?

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

However, many health bodies including the world cancer Research funds, the British Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association do not recommend taking supplements to prevent cancer or heart disease.

Supplements should only be taken on the advice of your doctor, after a blood test shows a deficiency in a specific nutrient. This is because some vitamins and minerals can be harmful in excess.

If you’re eating a variety of foods across all food groups, you’re meeting all of your nutrient needs and don’t need supplements.


The Longevity Diet is a compilation of several aspects of evidence-based healthy eating patterns. We are already promoting these as they improve our health and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. All of these aspects of healthy eating can increase longevity.

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

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