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Xodarap comments on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity - Less Wrong

120 Post author: RomeoStevens 28 February 2014 06:28AM

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Comment author: Xodarap 01 March 2014 06:36:41PM 2 points [-]

Ovo-lacto vegetarians live significantly longer than vegans

Where does it say that the difference is significant? The only mention of this I see in the cited paper is table 7, and the CIs there overlap a great deal. (And it goes on to say that the numbers should be "interpreted with caution because of the uncertainty of the dietary classification of subjects in the Health Food Shoppers Study".)

Comment author: RomeoStevens 02 March 2014 03:17:25AM *  -1 points [-]

A lot of these studies point to the same small amounts of data. This article for example discusses a new study that again reanalyzes the Adventist study data http://www.nleducation.co.uk/resources/reviews/vegetarians-live-longer-and-healthier/

We don't really have anything better though. And what little evidence we have points towards ovo-lacto and pescatarians having better health.

Comment author: [deleted] 21 July 2014 10:39:10AM *  1 point [-]

BTW, this article suggests that legumes have some positive effect on longevity, fish might have a smaller such effect, meat may have a negative effect, alcohol has a rather broad confidence interval (which I suspect is because they're trying to model a non-monotonic effect with a linear model), and none of the other food groups they considered have much of an effect.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 21 July 2014 05:37:27PM 0 points [-]

I would guess that legume consumption is positive for the elderly because their folate absorption declines with age (along with other B vitamins like b12). I wonder if anyone has tried to test that yet.

Comment author: Xodarap 02 March 2014 05:26:35PM *  1 point [-]

And what little evidence we have points towards ovo-lacto and pescatarians having better health

Um, the article you linked seems to say that vegans are healthier:

  • Vegan All-cause mortality: HR 0.72, 95% CI 0.56-0.92
  • Pesco All-cause mortality: HR 0.81, 95% CI 0.69-0.94
  • Lacto-ovo All-cause mortality: HR 0.91, 95% CI 0.82-1
  • [Meat eaters presumably have an HR of 1]

The difference might not be significant, so I don't know that we would call this conclusive proof. But it seems like if you're going to lean one way, it would be towards vegans being healthier.

Especially since "animal products are bad" is a much simpler model than "animal products are bad, except for these few exceptions."

Comment author: RomeoStevens 03 March 2014 05:19:54AM 0 points [-]

I guess I completely failed to discuss that the studies I linked to do not constitute the entire set of studies I drew from for the recommendations. I will expand on some of the points when I have time.

Comment author: Xodarap 04 March 2014 01:34:26AM *  2 points [-]

Sounds good.

Just reading the wikipedia page#Health_studies) on eggs seems to indicate that evidence for their health benefits is questionable at best, (and even though you were trying to make the argument that eggs were healthy you couldn't find the evidence to do so at first) so given that you're only mentioning "the largest high level features of a diet that have positive or negative impact", I'm not convinced eggs are worth including at all.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 04 March 2014 05:29:04AM *  0 points [-]

Yeah, I believe choline is more important than the conventional wisdom suggests given its interaction with various nootropics. It's really hard to get enough without eggs. Eggs are also absurdly bioavailable compared to everything else.

Comment author: orthonormal 04 March 2014 05:58:24AM 1 point [-]

How many eggs per week would you need to eat in order to avoid choline deficiency?

Comment author: RomeoStevens 04 March 2014 06:19:21AM 0 points [-]

I eat 2-3 eggs a day. You do get a little choline from other sources.

Comment author: orthonormal 04 March 2014 04:57:34PM 1 point [-]

Er, that's not what I asked; averting a deficiency presumably takes less consumption than that. Do you have evidence about choline levels, and what does that evidence say about how many eggs you'd need to eat per week to avoid it?

Comment author: RomeoStevens 04 March 2014 06:57:25PM *  0 points [-]

Averting an acute deficiency is completely different from optimal for health. I don't have a simple cite saying this amount of choline is optimal. I have an impression based on peoples response to extra choline.

Edit: to clarify, choline is not the sole reason I strongly recommend eggs. It is possible to get enough choline without eggs, but the fact that the overwhelming majority of the populace does not meet the adequate intake makes me suspect most diets don't fulfill this.

Comment author: Qiaochu_Yuan 04 March 2014 06:47:37AM 1 point [-]

The last time I tried doing this I ended up with some constipation. It's possible I wasn't drinking enough water at the time, though.

Comment author: Wei_Dai 20 July 2014 10:46:36PM 0 points [-]

Yeah, I believe choline is more important than the conventional wisdom suggests given its interaction with various nootropics. It's really hard to get enough without eggs.

It seems pretty easy to supplement with soy lecithin. Is there any reason not to do that?

Comment author: RomeoStevens 21 July 2014 08:11:13AM 0 points [-]

Not particularly for choline other than my normal anti-processed-food-until-proven-otherwise heuristic, but eggs do also contain lots of b12, selenium, and a smaller amount of a ton of other nutrients.

Comment author: Pablo_Stafforini 21 July 2014 09:07:55PM *  0 points [-]

Eggs are very high in methionine, though, and there's evidence that methionine restriction can increase both mean and maximum lifespan. Some very knowledgeable folk, like Michael Rae, have dropped eggs from their diet for this reason.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 21 July 2014 11:49:14PM *  0 points [-]

Thanks for the pointer, I am reading the rat and mice studies. So far the evidence seems weaker than the CR evidence, which is pretty bad.

Comment author: orthonormal 20 July 2014 04:10:48PM *  0 points [-]

Reminder to expand on this. (Someone sent me a link saying that eggs are terrible for life expectancy, and I found it dubious so I came back here to look for links to studies.)

Comment author: RomeoStevens 21 July 2014 05:46:18PM *  0 points [-]

Link added to parent thread. Still have more to investigate. This area is extremely frustrating because of the decade-plus lead times on studies.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 21 July 2014 05:45:15PM *  -2 points [-]

This overview of studies is a reasonable place to look: http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/dxrates

Note the conclusion: even though several RR's look better for vegans, the data can't yet make a strong case that veganism is actually better than pesc or ovo-lacto vegetarian diets. In particular, 1.0 RR is often within the 95% CI.

This is also worth looking at if I forgot to link it anywhere else: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/93/1/158.short

Comment author: Xodarap 31 July 2014 02:30:40PM 1 point [-]

Right. So given that we don't actually have any evidence to support claims like "Ovo-lacto vegetarians live significantly longer than vegans" don't you think it makes sense to remove those claims?

Comment author: RomeoStevens 31 July 2014 07:21:17PM 0 points [-]

No, I'm in agreement with the article that this meta analysis is the best data we have. It finds significant improvements for fish, dairy, and eggs vs vegans.

Comment author: Lumifer 31 July 2014 07:38:52PM 0 points [-]

this meta analysis is the best data we have

It's 15 years old. I'm pretty sure there is more data available today.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 31 July 2014 08:02:01PM *  0 points [-]

There's a 2012 meta-analysis of longevity which did not separate out vegans, and a 2014 meta-analysis on blood pressure which also did not separate out vegans. If you have any pointers I'm glad to look at more.

Comment author: Lumifer 31 July 2014 08:12:55PM *  0 points [-]

No pointers, sorry. But for fun I searched PubMed for "vegan" and it came up with 3200 hits...

Random example thought not meta.

Comment author: RomeoStevens 01 August 2014 12:44:51AM *  0 points [-]

again look at confidence bounds. Most of the studies you'll find to simply lack the statistical power to make concrete recommendations. Fish seems unambiguously good and shows the largest effect sizes vs vegans (e.g. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1710093), I agree that ovo-lacto evidence is weaker, but I'll maintain that there is slight evidence in favor of it. Given that a diet including fish, eggs, and milk, is much much easier to adhere to it remains something I recommend. Remember that my approach to nutrition in the OP is that effect sizes are small and you should focus your efforts elsewhere.

I do appreciate you taking the time to argue this point, smacking various claims with a hammer is essential.