The Science of Longevity – Insights from our Webinar with Professor Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, FRACP

Recently, we had the opportunity to host a webinar featuring Professor Luigi Fontana, MD, PhD, FRACP – one of the world’s foremost experts on the science of longevity.

Author of the bestselling book, The Path to Longevity, Professor Fontana has produced more than 130 highly-cited scientific papers, been featured in mass media, and has been credited with the foundational research that gave rise to the 5:2 diet.

Needless to say, we learned quite a bit about longevity, the factors that can impact it, and ways to improve both the quality AND quantity of life.

Living longer starts by understanding how our environment can directly impact our longevity.

Far too many people overlook the interaction between their genes, their lifestyle, and the environment as a whole. In fact, only about 20-25% of longevity is determined by your genes. The rest is a careful mix of lifestyle, diet, and how these factors interact with the world around you!

Even the best genes can be defeated by poor lifestyle choices and an environment that isn’t equipped to support heightened longevity.

When we eat a diet high in animal products, we place an increasing demand on the global environment – leading to diminishing resources, an increase in pollution, and the potential for antibiotic resistance.

According to Professor Fontana:

“The other important piece of the puzzle is the interaction with our lifestyle. And what happens to our planet. Basically 15 to 17% of co2 emissions are due to intensive animal farming and agriculture. Intensive animal farming and agriculture are impacting, water, air and land pollution because of pesticides, herbicides and excessive nitrogen and phosphorus consumption for growing these crops for billions of animals that are killed every day.”

Pollution and other factors can also expose us to higher levels of toxic or harmful substances, further diminishing the effectiveness of “good genes.” It’s essential that we preserve our planet, not just for ourselves, but for those around us as well.

Weight loss isn’t everything when it comes to longevity.

Many of us have experienced the relationship of body fat to overall health. However, this isn’t the end all be all when it comes to longevity.

We require a variety of nutritious foods to survive and operate at an optimal level of health. Losing weight may have initial benefits, but you can still experience malnutrition and other issues associated with a depletion of the variety of foods necessary to keep your body in peak condition.

As Professor Fontana points out, good nutrition is key:

“I think it is an obsession about obesity nowadays. Everything is about obesity. I want to move the focus on healthy ageing not on obesity and losing weight. You can lose weight by eating bread and water for a few years, of course, you’re going to lose weight. In the short run, your metabolic health will improve, but eventually, you’re going to die of malnutrition. Similarly, you can lose weight on a high protein diet, without having any metabolic benefit, despite having a significant reduction in visceral fat.”

Ensuring longevity means making sure that your body has everything that it needs to function properly and focusing only on weight loss may not provide this. However, there are benefits to healthy calorie restriction when done with good nutrition in mind.

You can add 10+ years to your life by making healthy choices.

The importance of a consistently healthy lifestyle can’t be emphasised enough!

This means maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, and only drinking in moderation. As Professor Fontana explains, your behaviours and interactions with the world around you are also crucial to increasing your longevity:

There are studies on almost 3000 identical twins. Basically, in these studies, only 25% approximately of the probability of leading a long or short life is due to the inherited genes, and between 70 to 75% is due to environmental factors. There is a new study that is based on hundreds of millions of people in ancestry public trees showing that less than 10% of the heritability of human longevity is due to the genes that we inherited from our parents. Even for cancer. If you look at the most common cancers, again in identical twins, you can see that only 15 to 35% of the most common cancers are due to the inherited genes. The rest, 75 to 80%, are due to basic environmental factors and lifestyle factors…”

With a healthy diet and exercise, no smoking and alcohol in moderation, you can increase [your lifespan] by 10 years. People who have a healthier diet, they are exercising, they are not smoking and not over drinking, they live, both men and women, 10 years longer.”

How important is exercise?

Many of us have heard the phrase, “you can’t out exercise a bad diet!” And this still rings true. Even the most active athletes can undermine their success, increasing fat and insulin resistance when they consume large quantities of unhealthy foods.

According to Professor Fontana:

“…Exercise is much more powerful than calorie restriction at lowering insulin levels. The insulin area under the curve is significantly lower in people that lost basically 8% body weight by exercise compared to the people who have lost the same amount [via calorie restriction alone].”

Experts recommend cardiovascular (walking, jogging, etc.) exercise 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week to reduce obesity, lower insulin levels, and to help prevent disease.

Preventative medicine is key to increasing both longevity and the overall quality of life!

Ready to learn more?

This is only the tip of the iceberg! You can read more in Professor Fontana’s best selling book, The Path to Longevity – and don’t forget to check out the entire webinar, complete with a scientific overview what it takes to live a longer, higher quality life!

Interested in factors that could impact YOUR longevity? Download you personal Longevity Checklist here!

Recent Posts

Get More Expert Advice!

Follow Us

 

© Copyright

Everything on this site is original content, created and owned by or through The Health Sciences Academy ® or licensed accordingly.
The Health Sciences Academy
© Copyright The Health Sciences Academy. The content, graphs and charts on this page have been exclusively prepared for The Health Sciences Academy and its prospect students, existing students and graduates. None of the content on this page and website may be reproduced, copied or altered without our explicit permission. Criminal and legal penalties for copyright and other infringement apply. All Terms and Conditions apply.

Discover

Free Courses

Resources

Connect

About Us

© 2020 The Health Sciences Academy ® All Rights Reserved.

The Health Sciences Academy is proud to offer our students access to an award-winning nutrition platform!