Home Lifestyle How to live longer: The seemingly healthy decisions that could shorten your...

How to live longer: The seemingly healthy decisions that could shorten your lifespan


The importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet is trotted out so often it seems obvious by now. Packing your diet full of greens and cutting down on processed meat should raise few eyebrows. However, certain dietary decisions can seem healthy on the surface, when in fact they are compromising your lifespan.

As Lisa Simon, registered dietitian at Plant Based Health Online explained to Express.co.uk, agave syrup falls into this trap.

Agave syrup (also known as agave nectar) is a naturally occurring sweetener similar in consistency to honey.

According to Simon, this product is often marketed as a healthier alternative to sugar and is often cited as being “diabetic-friendly” due to its low glycaemic index (a measure of how it affects blood glucose levels).

“The reason for this is that roughly 85 percent of agave syrup is fructose and it does not have the same effect on blood glucose levels as sucrose (table sugar),” she said.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Walking every day promotes longevity – the amount you need to do

However, as Simon explained, only the liver can efficiently use fructose, and consuming large amounts in its concentrated form (this does not include whole fruit) can overload the liver, convert it to fat and raise cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that may contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, fatty liver and heart disease.

What does Simon recommend instead?

“If you are looking for a sweetener, better choices would be brown sugar, coconut sugar, date syrup, or maple syrup.”

As Simon pointed out, these are still all forms of sugar and should be eaten in moderation, but they do not contain concentrated fructose.

Fatty liver disease symptoms: Nail changes are a sign [INSIGHT]
Brazil variant symptoms: Full list of signs [TIPS]
How to lose visceral fat: Three lifestyle interventions [ADVICE]

Another deceptively dangerous dietary decision is eating granola – a staple breakfast cereal.

Simon explained: “This may seem healthy due to its contents including oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruit, but in reality, many shop-bought granolas are laden with sugar, with some containing more than 10g per serving.”

To put this into perspective, a portion of oats contains 0.4g of sugar per serving and wheat biscuits contain 1.6g per serving, she said.

“If you enjoy granola, look for the lower sugar options, or try making your own using oats, nuts, spices such as cinnamon and cardamom and a little olive oil,” Simon advised.

You should also be wary of high dose vitamin supplements, warned Simon.

“There are a huge number of vitamin supplements on the market, with the common belief being more is better than less when it comes to dosage,” she said.

Simon continued: “The problem is they do not come packaged with all the beneficial components of whole plant foods, and some, such as vitamin E, can be harmful if taken in large doses for a prolonged period of time.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, high doses of vitamin E might increase the risk of bleeding (by reducing the blood’s ability to form clots after a cut or injury) and of serious bleeding in the brain (known as hemorrhagic stroke).

Also, high dose vitamin C can result in gastrointestinal side effects, warned Simon.

What’s more, fat soluble vitamins, which are stored in the liver, can cause health problems if high doses are taken regularly, she said.

“The majority of healthy people without underlying conditions do not need to take vitamin and mineral supplements, with the exception of B12 for vegans,” added Simon.

“It is far superior to consume vitamins and minerals via a healthy, balanced diet.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here