Age Wise

Diet Changes That Can Add Years to Your Life

New research finds the sooner you shift eating habits, the more years you stand to gain

Robert Roy Britt
Published in
3 min readFeb 10, 2022


Photo: Unsplash

Surely you know by now that ditching junk food for healthier meals and snacks can save your life. But for how long? New research gets specific, pinning down how many years, on average, Americans of various ages can potentially add to their lives by nixing the typical Western diet — heavy in red meat and processed foods — in favor of a healthier way of eating that embraces beans, seeds, nuts, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

“A sustained dietary change may give substantial health gains for people of all ages both for optimized and feasible changes,” scientists write in the journal PLOS Medicine. “Gains are predicted to be larger the earlier the dietary changes are initiated in life.”

The scientists used existing data on food-related disease risk to project how much longer the average man or woman in the U.S. can expect to live by making an optimized, wholesale, sustained change in eating patterns, based on starting age:

Age 20: 11 years for women, 13 years for men

Age 60: 8 years for women, 9 years for men



Robert Roy Britt

Editor of Aha! and Wise & Well on Medium + the Writer's Guide at Author of Make Sleep Your Superpower: