You’ve probably noticed that life expectancy has steadily increased over the past century. But it invites us to ask some questions:
- What is the secret to longevity?
- Why do some people live longer than others?
- And how much is longevity connected to you reaching and maintaining a stable and healthy weight?
Studies have shown that this historically unprecedented longevity can be due to a combination of factors – including advances in healthcare and better nutrition.
In other words, eating nutritious food and keeping to a healthy weight can significantly influence your quality of life and longevity. No one wants longevity with a poor quality of life!
In today’s article, we’ll discuss the relationship between longevity, sustainable weight loss, and maintaining a stable weight, so you know what lifestyle choices you should consider for a longer and healthier life.
Longevity with Healthy Eating Choices
Making healthy food choices sounds a sensible plan if you want longevity. Unfortunately our “fast-food” society works against us. It beckons to us to grab an easily available diet “rich”’ in ultra-processed foods (UPFs).
UPFs dominate the food supply to the point that escaping from them is as hard as eating only one Dorito from a packet!
And that’s why, despite the fact we’re living longer, obesity is now an epidemic and we’re not staying healthy into old age. That’s also where weight loss comes into the equation.
So, how do you deal with the challenge of making healthy food choices so you can reach your target weight and enjoy healthy longevity?
There are two challenges here:
- Good quality food is getting more expensive.
- Supermarkets have shelves packed with attractive, affordable ready meals full of salt, sugar, and preservatives.
Before discussing how to overcome these challenges, let’s first understand what’s behind ultra-processed foods.
Ultra-Processed Food: Recognizing Junk
UPFs are food products that have undergone extensive processing and typically contain a long list of additives, preservatives, flavorings, and other chemical ingredients.
One rule of thumb in recognizing them is to ask yourself: “Do I have all the ingredients in my cupboard?” Not many of us have additives and preservatives!
These UPFs are high in calories and low in nutritional value but are also convenient, tasty, and have a long shelf life, which contributes to their popularity.
If you’re still unsure whether you consume them, look at your fridge and search for sugary soft drinks, fast food, packaged snacks, or frozen dinners.
How bad are UPFs for your health?
Heavily processed and refined ingredients, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and food additives, are full of unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt but low in essential nutrients like
- fiber, and
Because they’re calorie-rich but nutrient-poor, they can contribute to your weight gain and health risks, including
- disordered eating (due to overconsumption),
- type 2 diabetes,
- heart disease,
- hypertension, and
- certain cancers.
These conditions clearly militate against longevity!
In addition, lack of fiber and the presence of additives in this kind of product can negatively affect your gut health and the diversity of your gut microbiota – which is crucial for your immune system and overall wellbeing into old age.
Finding Longevity and Health in Whole Foods
Despite the dangers of junk food, not all processed foods are villains. Some less-processed products, like canned vegetables, frozen fruits, and whole-grain bread, can be part of your healthy diet.
The key is to focus on minimally processed whole foods and limit your consumption of ultra-processed foods as much as possible.
So – what does this look like in practice?
A balanced and nutritious diet should include a variety of fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Whenever you have doubts about how to make a wise food choice, remember that the less packaging, the healthier to food is. Processed foods need preservatives and special packaging for longer shelf life.
The Link Between Food Choices, Your Weight, and Longevity
Now, back to the link between healthy food choices, weight loss, and longevity.
As we mentioned, poor eating habits and the overconsumption of UPFs can lead to weight gain and obesity. In turn, these can harm your health and decrease your lifespan by a few years – or even decades.
A recent study by the University of California San Diego established a link between stable weight and exceptional longevity. The researchers discovered that women over 60 who maintained a stable and healthy weight were 1.2 to 2 times more likely to extend their lifespan beyond 90.
So – if you struggle with being overweight, it’s time to reconsider your lifestyle choices to achieve a stable and healthy weight and increase the likelihood of you reaching 90, 95, or 100.
At Nava Health, we believe a “stable and healthy weight” must be “relevant to your body type.” You’re unique, so we work with you in a personalized way to decide what this means for you.
However, we also advise you to keep away from fad diets, because extreme weight loss can actually be counterproductive for promoting longevity. If obesity isn’t healthy, neither is being underweight. Being skinny for the sake of it will not necessarily lead to healthy longevity.
Nava Can Help with Sustainable Weight Loss
At Nava Health, as part of our integrative approach to medicine, we believe weight loss should happen in a balanced and sustainable way.
That means you should target a healthy weight and then keep it that way – not only to extend your lifespan but also to increase the number of your healthy years.
Weight loss can contribute to both if you do it in a sustainable way with the help of a functional nutritionist.
If you’re ready to commit to a long and healthy life, we have an experienced team of multi-disciplinary healthcare providers and functional nutritionists. They’ll work with you on our medically supervised weight loss program, NavaRX, to ensure your journey to sustainable weight loss and exceptional longevity is done safely and tailored to your individual needs and goals.
However, weight loss is just one piece of the puzzle when you want to live longer and healthier.
We’ll also assess your medical history, genetics, lifestyle factors, and overall health before creating a customized health plan that includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- a nutritional, balanced diet,
- lifestyle adjustments,
- regular physical activities,
- stress management, and
- weight loss drugs, such as semaglutide, if they’ll help you on your journey.
Schedule your consultation with Nava’s functional nutritionists today to benefit from weight loss, weight stability, and longevity in a way that’s right for you!