12-16 Years Younger Than My Chronological Age: What’s My Diet?

My average biological age in 2019 is 12 years younger than my chronological age (46y) based on the Phenotypic Age calculator (https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/11/01/biological-age-31-3y-chronological-age-46y/), and 16y younger based on aging.ai (https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/11/04/years-of-biological-aging-in-the-past-4-years/). One factor that likely contributes to my relatively youthful biological age is my diet.

Shown below is my average daily dietary intake from January 1 through November 7th, 2019 (n=306 days). I weigh all of my food with a food scale, so these aren’t estimated amounts:

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 10.15.49 AM.png

In terms of weight (or volume), green tea is atop the list, as I drink 20 oz/day. Carrots come in second place (for why, see https://michaellustgarten.com/2018/07/06/serum-albumin-and-acm/), followed by strawberries, red bell peppers, bananas, watermelon (for the lycopene), cauliflower, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Note that I mix the bananas and berries in my green smoothies, which I drink 3-4x/week, which includes spinach (#11) and parsley (#23).

What does my average daily macro- and micro-nutrient data look like for 2019?

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 10.33.03 AM

Note that I purposefully have higher than the RDA values for several nutrients, including Vitamin C (see https://michaellustgarten.com/2019/09/19/vitamin-c-dietary-intake-and-plasma-values-whats-optimal-for-health/), Vitamin K (see https://michaellustgarten.com/2015/05/08/eat-more-green-leafy-vegetables-reduce-mortality-risk/), selenium (see https://michaellustgarten.com/2015/05/28/selenium-dietary-intake-and-plasma-values-whats-optimal-for-health/), and others (see michaellustgarten.com).

In terms of supplements, I use 1000 IU of vitamin D from November – May, and I take a methylfolate-methylB12-B6 supplement, to help keep my homocysteine levels low.

If you’re interested, please have a look at my book!

Michael Lustgarten

Ph.D, Physiology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 2009 B.S., Biochemistry, Queens College, 2003 B.A, English Textual Studies, 1994, Syracuse University

19 thoughts on “12-16 Years Younger Than My Chronological Age: What’s My Diet?

    1. Hi Michael,
      Do you supplement folate and magnesium? After quick look at your diet I don’t think I see them in those foods in the amounts you list in the macro’s.

      Also, is the whey a protein powder or actual whey?

      Also surprised to see beef but not chicken. I found it interesting that in a recent talk by Steve Horvath he thought his new data showed chicken being associated with longevity.

      1. Hey Lee, as I mentioned in the post, yes, with methylfolate (400 mcg/day). No Mg supplementation, it’s all from food

        Whey protein powder (Naked Whey)

        Ha, after years of experiments on mouse muscle, the idea of chicken (which is similar) grosses me out. Yeah, it was positively associated with a younger epigenetic age, but I wonder if it’s more linked with a higher protein intake than necessarily chicken itself.

      2. Sorry I was a bad reader and missed your methylfolate. Is there a particular reason you choose it over beans with their naturally high folate?

        Also surprised to see such a high protein intake of what looks like ~.8 grams per pound of your bodyweight? My own guess of optimal from all my reading is ~.4 .

  1. Very interesting. Thank you. I keep noticing on my data always a lower BA than CA with aging.ai (v 1.0) always giving lower BA values than Levine’s methodology. Seen also with other people too. Wondering about statistical or other biases. Maybe absolute values are not fundamentally important when comparing to trends. Regarding the latter Levine’s is monotonically rising (it also includes CA in the formula) while aging.ai shows some trend differences.

    1. The correlation for Levine’s clock with biological age (r=0.94, 0.80, respectively) is better than aging.ai, so that’s the likely reason.

  2. This is impressive data collection! Sometime it would be interesting to see more about how you manage this in your daily life. Write up (or video) your typical day of shopping, eating, and tracking.

    Do you use a simple spreadsheet for the tracking? or some specialized software?

    1. Thanks Richard, further documenting all that is on the list. I log everything from cronometer and WHOOP (HRV, HR, sleep stage data) in an Excel file.

  3. Hi Michael! Great article. I figured that you would have listed your food diary somewhere on your website. I wasn’t able to find it, but searched on “carrot” and found this article immediately, LOL!

    My question is: do you eat most of if food raw and whole or do you make a giant salad, mix them into a smoothie or cook them as part of a recipe? I definately plan to test my blood quarterly, but what you have here makes a good starting point.

    1. Thanks Darren! For my veggie intake, it varies for raw vs. cooked. Carrots, red bell peppers = raw, But broccoli, cauliflower are cooked. I cook spinach sometimes, but also sometimes not, like when I put it in a smoothie. Raw parsley in smoothies, too. I’m not married to any way of eating, as long as it tastes good and the biomarkers are where they should be!

  4. Thanks a lot. Will you update the list some time? Is there a special reason for the red pepper? Any reasons, why not mushrooms? I thought, they are good.

    1. Red Bell peppers are All-Stars for Vitamin C, and I like their taste, so I include them daily (~330g/d). For ex, see:

    2. Mushrooms are great, especially for niacin and protein, but for whatever reason, they cause my liver enzymes to go into the 40s, which is in the wrong direction. So I’ve minimized their intake for the past ~2yrs, which is unfortunate because I liked eating them!

  5. Hi Michael,

    1. If there are some things that are aging experts are pretty sure about that a high calorie diet (AMPK activation) and a high protein diet (mTOR activation) accelerate aging and increase all-cause mortality.

    Don’t you worry that 2731.9 cal/day and 137.9 grams/day of protein are too much?

    2. Some would argue that your diet isn’t balanced, for instance 479 grams/day of carrots. Don’t you worry of too much vitamin A?

    Maybe the biomarkers can’t tell the whole story in some cases.
    What do you think?

    1. Hey Oren, I follow my data. Overall, my fitness and health is good, and biomarkers are youthful. For this dietary period (since my last blood test in April), I’m averaging ~2530 calories/d, so I agree that 2732 cals/day may be too much. But I agree for a different reason than aging theories, but actual data-my HRV and RHR are better when my calorie intake is lower, not higher. That said, I love to eat, so it’s always a battle for me to keep my calories under 2800/d, which is what my ad lib intake would be if I didn’t try as hard.

      In terms of protein intake, I let the data drive that, too. I’ve been at ~115g/d for the past few blood tests not because of theory, but because higher protein in my data is correlated with higher glucose and creatinine, and even a 20g cut sent those biomarkers back in the right direction.

      Ha, I don’t care if people think my diet isn’t “balanced”, again, what does the data say? Most people are chronically deficient in many nutrients for decades until their death, but in contrast, I get at least the RDA for everything on a daily basis. In terms of my carrot intake, again, I follow the data-my albumin levels are youthful (levels of a 20yr old), and one reason may be because of its strong correlation with beta-carotene, which I get from carrots. I purposefully eat that many because it’s correlated with youthful albumin levels. Also, if the net effect of my carrot intake was bad, wouldn’t some biomarker(s) go in the wrong direction? For me, that is not the case.

      I don’t understand the argument that biomarkers don’t tell the whole story in some cases. Aging and disease are biochemical mechanisms that happen over decades, and studying/intervening sooner, rather than later would be expected to slow those processes, assuming that the “right” biomarkers are studied and the approach is good.

  6. Also, note that this post is from November 2019-I have more recent biological age data, and it’s just as good:

    https://youtu.be/G5zXa4DLvjY

    I’m blood testing again in early July, and this is usually the worst data for me during the year (in part because of seasonal allergies), so it will be interesting (at least to me!) to see how that turns out.

  7. Hi Dr. Lustgarten,

    1. I saw that your garlic intake (0.1 grams) and avocado intake (0.9 grams) are quite low.
    Did they have negative effect on your biomarkers?

    2. What biomarkers that you often measure supposed to predict cancer risk?

    Thanks again for you great work!

    1. Hey Oren, I wish I could add more garlic into my diet, as it’s rich in prebiotic fiber, but I get bad gas and GI discomfort when I include it, so unfortunately I limit that and onions, which is from a similar genus (Allium). For avocado, I started eating a lot more (47g/day average) of the for the dietary period that corresponded to this blood test (7/21/21). Over the past ~3 years, when compared with data for 16 blood biomarkers, a higher avocado intake is correlated with worse values for homocysteine and alkaline phosphatase, and no strong correlations for avocado intake with biomarkers going in the right direction. Nonetheless, I don’t have a lot of avocado intake data over the past few years, and when considering that my biological age for this Wednesday’s blood test is pretty good (video coming soon!), I’m going to keep them in to gather more data.

      btw, I get more in-depth about the impact of my diet on blood biomarkers on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/MichaelLustgartenPhD), which that may be of interest!

      In terms of cancer markers, there’s recently published data that measurement of cell-free DNA in blood is associated with cancer risk, so that may be on the list at some point. I measured PSA on Wednesday (as a marker of prostate cancer risk, but otherwise, I haven’t focused on that. In contrast, a younger biological age via Levine’s test is associated with a lower cancer risk, so that offers some insight.

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