You are what you eat—and what you’re eating can either prolong or shave years off your life span. In fact, the majority of Americans are not consuming a nutritionally balanced diet. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than one in ten U.S. adults and adolescents consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables—and about half of adults drink a sugary beverage on a daily basis. Americans have one of the shortest life expectancy compared to other high-income countries around the globe. And one of the main reasons concluded that longevity is tied to five lifestyle factors, diet being one.
1. You’re following a high-protein plan
Adults who consume a protein-rich diet may be harming their health as much as those who smoke cigarettes. A high-protein lifestyle (classified as those who obtain at least 20% of their daily calories from any type of protein source) was linked to an increase in cancer and diabetes mortality, and those who eat an abundance of animal-based products (like meat and cheese) are more at risk from an early death regardless of the cause. Middle-aged adults who followed an animal-based, high-protein meal plan were four times more likely to die of cancer and 74% more likely to die from any disease compared to those who consumed a low-protein diet.
2. You’re drinking soda
Yes, you’ve heard countless times that sugary bubbly beverages are bad for you. But a study found that downing soft drinks (both regular and diet) could go as far as shortening your lifespan. Drinking two or more glasses a day also resulted in a “higher risk” of death from circulatory disease and sipping one serving a day was associated with a “higher risk” of death caused by digestive diseases.
3. You’re focusing on low-carb foods
Keto fans won’t be thrilled with this news. A study published in The Lancet Public Health analyzed the carbohydrate intake of more than 15,400 middle-aged U.S. adults over the course of 25 years. The participants who consumed moderate levels of carbs (where 50%-55% of their calories derived from carbohydrates) were the leaders in longevity compared to the ultra-low-carb eaters (30% or less of calorie intake came from carbohydrates) and the somewhat-low carb eaters (30% to 40%). The middle-of-the-road group lived four times longer than the ultra-low carb group and two years longer than the slightly-higher low carb group.