What does the world’s oldest person eat?

birthday cake slice

Last week the world got a new oldest person when the previous record holder, Jeralean Talley, passed away at the age of 116. Susannah Mushatt Jones, age 113, then became the world’s oldest living person. You might think that to reach these advanced ages the women ate a spartan, ultra-healthy diet, but you would be wrong.

Talley lived to 116 on a diet of  “potato salad, honey buns, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, and Wendy’s chili. She would also eat lots of fish, vegetables, and fruit (blueberries, cantaloupe, and strawberries, to name a few).” Jones, when she learned that she was now the world’s oldest living person, had just eaten a meal of steamed chicken, baked potato, collard greens, and raspberry Jell-O. Her breakfast most mornings consists of four strips of bacon with eggs and grits.

The diet of the current oldest person is often parsed by those seeking clues to longevity. Previous holders of the title attributed living to a ripe old age by cooking most of their meals from scratch or by eating only foods they truly enjoyed. Sounds like good advice to follow, even if you don’t make it to age 116.

Photo of Ultimate birthday cake from ‘Baked Occasions’ (Bake the Book) from Serious Eats by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

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