When you're old, screw it—you might as well hit up the 4:45pm Country Kitchen buffet to load up on Jello salad every day of the week. Your nearly eight decades of life have earned you the right to eat what you want. But seriously, science now says that once you hit 75, the benefits of eating healthily go out the window.
For five years, researchers from both the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Penn State followed the eating habits of 449 people aged 75 and up, and categorized their diets into three classes. There's the sweets and dairy, which is characterized by lots of baked goods, coffee and tea, dairy-based desserts, and very little poultry. The there's the health conscious class, which includes good grains, fish, nuts, and not much fried or processed food or soft drinks. And the third is the Western pattern, a diet defined by alcohol, fried food, sodas, eggs, breads, fats, and not much fruit or protein. Researchers also cross-referenced the old timers' medical records to check for a correlation between a bad diet and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or even death.
And guess what? Researchers found no relation, no matter which class of diet the person followed. Although there was a higher risk of hypertension for the sweets and dairy segment, and suggested that ascribing to a healthy diet is probably going to give you fewer problems in the long run. But overall, it seems once you're at that advanced age, if you're going to die you're just going to die. The results of the study are published in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging, as well as the next email your grandmother writes you in all caps. Respecting your elders now means letting them eat whatever the hell they want. [Penn State via Futurity]