South Beach Diet and the low-carb craze

by Christina Geyer on October 27, 2004 · 0 comments

I just attended an interesting lecture on age trajectories of mortality. Since I’m now working at one of the world’s preeminent demographic research centers, I thought I would share some insights. Japan is the healthiest, most robust, oldest living population in the world, with Japanese women living an average of 85 years. The age expectancy of Japanese goes up by 2.5 years every decade (r-squared=0.98) and this is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The Japanese diet includes quite a lot of rice, which is a carbohydrate.

Here are some excerpts from an MSNBC article with similar, but boiled-down, content:

In a country where the average life span has extended to 81.9 years, Japan’s elderly are not only the longest-lived but statistically the healthiest seniors in the world. The typical Japanese now enjoys at least 75 years of relative good health, according to the World Health Organization. That exceeds by nearly six years the average for Americans — who rank 23rd…

“Japanese seniors are not only living longer but their health is generally excellent, and as a group, they appear to be getting healthier,” said Koichi Ando, assistant director of elderly affairs at the Health Ministry…

Studies indicate a multitude of reasons for the health of older people, with most citing a traditional diet heavy on fish and light on red meat, as well as the consumption of high-fiber rice. A national survey in 2000 showed that almost 63.6 percent of seniors don’t overeat, 49.6 percent exercise regularly and 64.2 percent sleep well…

In 2002, the United States, with a population of 283 million, had roughly 50,000 centenarians, but only about 13 percent of them were living independently. In contrast, in Japan, a nation of 128 million, there are 23,000 centenarians, with about 35 percent of them living independently, according to government statistics and research studies in both Japan and the United States…

Additionally, Italians have excellent cardiac health and also eat a high carbohydrate diet, but low in red meat and high in fish, and they exercise regularly. Wasn’t the South Beach Diet written by a cardiologist as a diet for his patients? Seems to me like his ideas go against scientific evidence, rather than with it…

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: