My issue is that there is so much information in the media about what is and is not good for us, but there are many exceptions to the rules. My grandfather for example, ate all the wrong things, took no exercise, was almost spherical and lived to a very ripe old age. Was he lucky or was there something that saved him that has never been noticed before?
I come from a long living family. All my grandparents drank with enthusiasm, sprinkled salt liberally onto their food, ate puddings, real butter and red meat, and still lived into their eighties and nineties and my parents are in their mid-eighties with an even greater enjoyment of all the above, especially the demon drink, and going strong. I however do not show signs of following the longevity trend. I have had asthma, a pulmonary embolism and suffer aches and pains in my back and hips that my mother assures me she never felt at my age.
This is what I want to know:
How do we quantify life expectancy? We know that smoking is a killer, we are also told that consuming alcohol, sugar, salt and fat, and being overweight contribute to risk, but I did the Atkins diet, very high in fat and I lost about four stone in weight. I was not overweight but I ate a lot of fat and no sugar. Was I still at risk?
If I gained weight on sugar, would it be worse than getting fat on butter and cream?
If I am overweight but incredibly fit in the physical sense i.e. I can run a marathon and touch my toes, am I still at risk?
If I am skinny but live on biscuits and wine, how much more or less danger am I in than if I am overweight because I eat too much of a so called balanced diet?
All this is very hard to identify. The difficulty is that there are so many other influences on our lives such as stress, pollution, food intolerance and genes, that I suppose one could never find definitive answers, but I would love to see some decent statistics to support the information we are – if you’ll excuse the pun – fed.