Dermod Wood
Author Archives: Dermod Wood

Life Expectancy Calculations

Actuaries Longevity Illustrator

This calculator by the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries is the simplest calculator to use (6 questions).  
It is primarily geared towards planning retirement finances, so it can also take into consideration the life expectancy of your life partner.
Provides a nice graph of probability of living to different ages.
Its main drawback is lack of specificity. 

Blue Zones (University of Minnesota)

This test takes around three minutes.  It asks around 20 questions including some on general health, exercise and diet, and provides estimates of your Total Life Expectancy, your Healthy Life Expectancy and your Potential Life Expectancy if you do everything right 🙂
Can provide suggestions for improvement.

Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator (Dr. Thomas Perls)

My favorite! This is by far the most comprehensive evaluation with a total of 43 questions covering Personal, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Medical and Family factors.  
It also provides detailed feedback on your answers.  Well-worth spending the 20-30 minutes that it takes to complete.
Dr. Perls also has a book that he will be happy to sell you.

Click on the image to go to the site

What is the Ideal Diet?

Three or four months ago I read the China Study and was thoroughly convinced by the arguments.  Since then spouse Gail and I have been on a fairly strict vegan diet.  A particular problem for me is my morning cappuccino.  I've tried a lot of different soy milks, rice milk, etc. and finally settled on a brand of oat milk called Oatly  that I can find in our local supermarket.  This produces a good foam and doesn't taste terrible.

I do miss the real thing though, and I'm not sure it is necessary to go the whole way to veganism if you have no major health issues. 

I was supported in this approach by the recent dietary targets contained in the report Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems

My take-away from the report:

  • Most food you eat should be Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) consisting of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, consistent with the China Study.
  • There is no evidence presented in the report that a strict vegan diet is any better than a diet with very small amounts of fish, chicken, dairy products, in fact a diet containing a small amount of fish may be the most healthy of all.
  • Red meat of any kind is definitely harmful and should be avoided.
  • Eat Less!

I would qualify this.  For anyone with cancer or cardiovascular disease there is a lot of evidence supporting a strict WFPB diet with no animal protein. This has been shown to stop and even reverse the progress of these diseases in some cases.
For more information please review the Nutrition and Weight Control course.

The table below is a summary of the Lancet 2019 recommendations for the balance of nutrients for an ideal diet (30 grams is approximately 1 ounce).  You can read the full report here.