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Dietary changes can add years to your life, study shows

man eating veggies
Photo: Robert Daly/iStockphoto

Bergen, Norway — Making some changes to your diet could lead to a longer life, results of a recent study out of Norway suggest.

Using meta-analyses and data from the 2019 Global Burden of Disease study, researchers developed a model that shows that higher amounts of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts in a diet combined with lower amounts of red/processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and refined grains can increase life expectancy, even in older adults.

Changing to the optimized diet at age 60 may result in 8.8 more years of life for men and eight more years for women. Women who change to that diet at 80 could gain nearly 3.5 additional years of life.


For U.S. adults in their 20s, the model calculates that the dietary change could result in more than a decade of added life expectancy, both for women (10.7 more years) and men (13). The researchers developed an online version of the model, the Food4HealthyLife calculator, available at

“Research until now has shown health benefits associated with separate food group or specific diet patterns but given limited information on the health impact of other diet changes,” lead study author Lars T. Fadnes, a professor in the University of Bergen’s Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, said in a press release. “Our modeling methodology has bridged this gap.”

The study was published online Feb. 8 in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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