Life Expectancy – Industrialised food and its effect on our longevity.

Tables and studies on life expectancy are only as good as the data provided. There are too many variables to take into consideration. Back in Victorian times for example there were many people who lived to over 80 or even 90 but because of the high infant mortality rate this brought down the average.

However, there is no doubt that there could be the beginning of a trend inthe reduction in average life expectancy, not just for women but also for men. And not only in the UK which is the subject of this article in the press but in the US and other countries in Europe.

Those of us termed as ‘baby boomers’ are now reaching our 60s and 70s and there are factors within our lifetimes that have impacted our general health and therefore our life expectancy.

Whilst there is no doubt that in some cases medical advancements have kept pace with many diseases, there are some health issues that are silent killers. They go undetected until such time as the disease is so advanced it is too late to halt its progress. Most of these are lifestyle related. Increased obesity, cancer and dementia are the prime indicators of a population that is malnourished. This is not starvation related to food consumption but based on the nutritional content of the food we eat daily and our body relies on to be healthy.

images of food of 60s

The 60s saw the beginning of the processed food revolution that promised to cut a woman’s workload in half and make it so much easier to provide her family with inexpensive nourishing food.

I remember the first processed food that I was given as a teenager. Vesta beef curry which was a reconstituted dried concoction from several packets inside a very colourful box that depicted a place of steaming goodness. Well, anyone who ever ate a Vesta dried meal would have been very skilled to have produced anything so luscious and  they should have been done for false advertising.

Today’s industrially produced and readily available food is no different.. You might not have to add water to most of it to revive it but usually there are so many additives that it is just as unhealthy.

I do understand that a busy lifestyle with two parents working makes convenience and expense a priority, but it may well be a false economy since the cost in terms of our health is not so easily determined.  Increasingly we are putting our health into the hands of the industrialists whose aim is not the health of the nation, but their own share prices. They will be accessing the cheapest source of ingredients possible and researching colours and flavours that will give those components that fresh and healthy appearance.

The labelling has become smaller and smaller and who has time to read through a list of 30 ingredients?  That should be your first clue.  If you are going to eat convenience food then look at the labels and if you cannot recognise the majority of the ingredients then put back on the shelf.  Many of the large stores now have fresh prepared food counters that are a better choice as they will have been cooked from scratch in their own kitchens. Consider these as an option if you are pushed for time.

Various articles and reports indicate that 30 years ago the average consumption per year of refined sugar was around 10lbs. That figure is now in the region of 150lbs per year. Most of which is hidden sugar in everyday foods that we not only choose to eat ourselves but give to our children.


In the article in the Daily Mail it quotes that the fall in life expectancy is five weeks. That is for someone over 60.. A mere blip perhaps and something we can safely ignore as the beginning of a trend. Or can we?

Those of us over 60 years old had a relatively low sugar diet in our childhood and teen years but what about the life expectancy of someone in their teens and 20s today? Just how much of an impact is 150lbs of sugar a year going to make on the length of their lives?

Another shocking fact is that the life expectancy for women in the UK is one of the worst in Europe. Perhaps whilst the politicians are fighting it out for the election next month they might focus on that rather than scoring points against each other in debates.

Our bodies require a complex formula to provide the nutrients it requires to keep us healthy.  Here are those nutrients and the foods need to provide them.

You will see that in fact a shopping trolley containing plenty of colourful and green vegetables, moderate amounts of fresh colourful fruits, wholegrains such as porridge oats and rice, at least one portion of lean protein a day will provide you with the majority of these nutrients.

As always I am very happy to answer any questions either here in the comment section or you can contact me directly at sally.cronin (at)

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22 thoughts on “Life Expectancy – Industrialised food and its effect on our longevity.

  1. Pingback: Life Expectancy – Industrialised food and its effect on our longevity. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Interesting article, Sally. True about ingredients and how the print gets smaller and smaller. They only put it there because the law forces them too, so they make it as small and unnoticeable as possible.

    As for diseases, it doesn’t help when our own NHS is behind the rest of the world… especially with things like cancer. It’s absolutely shameful! They put money and pomp ahead of the patient. All this bloody banding and rebranding every five minutes while constantly changing their minds about what services do or don’t do and who they see or won’t see.

    There’s no wonder patients go to the wrong places to find themselves pushed from pillar to post and people are not getting the treatment they need because of it. It’s unnecessarily stressful to find treatment.

    What we need is some consistency so people know where to go and what the procedures are, and what to expect.

    Anyway, I’m drawling on… 😀


    • I quite agree Kevin. You have much more inside knowledge of the NHS than I have as my views have been formed over several years with an elderly parent and working with those who have problems that were dietary and lifestyle related. I don’t subscribe to armchair criticism and if anything would tempt me back into full time employment it would be to manage a localised project to turn at least one NHS unit around.I am very keen on the walk in centres and also super surgeries bringing small GP surgeries under one roof with X-ray and testing facilities.. 24/7 plenty of staffing and offering educational courses for groups covering childcare, obesity and nutritionally managing BP, Blood sugar and Cholesterol imbalances. Who knows..

      Liked by 1 person

      • We need more walk-in centres, but they need to have clear directives that the patients can understand so they know which ones to go to and what to expect such as with your dietary and lifestyle clinics. They do have some, but they have a long way to go, yet. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: The Saturday Round Up – Chocolate shortage, Jazz, funnies and hot stories! | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  4. A most excellent post here Sally. I commend you for all the work you put into your posts. I am grateful that I am aware of all this and have studied this for years for self interest. Reading ingredients should be a priority for people, but to understand what they are reading is just as important. I hate grocery shopping. Why? Because it takes so darn long to read labels. Besides the words we can’t pronounce which is a good tip of what’s in the product, I am fixed on sodium, carb and sugar content. If it’s not in a healthy meal portion range, it’s not coming into my home. Let’s not forget to mention that many fruits and vegetables grow in pesticide laden soils and the effects that gives off. Groceries are very expensive now and organic is almost ridiculously priced but once we become aware of what we’re putting in our bodies we have to make choices and sacrifices. I try to buy organic, and regardless if I do or don’t, I soak all my fruits and veggies in natural fruit and veggie solutions. I hope we can make others aware of the things that are commonly disguised as ‘good for you.’ 🙂


    • Glad you found interesting Debby.. Some of the worst offenders being ‘diet’ foods. I am totally committed to the ‘cook from scratch’ approach with a very small amount of well prepared other ingredients which as you say are void of too many additives. I took domestic science at school from age 11 where we were taught to cook the basics from scratch. That is now no longer taught and I believe that boys and girls should have to do that through high school (including some basic nutritional understanding) so that when they leave not only can they read and write they have some life skills as well. I think that parents these days are often both working and have less time to pass these skills on but being a kitchen assistant from an early age certainly pays off. Enjoy Sunday.. hugs Sally

      Liked by 1 person

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