back to article Silicon Valley weirdo's quest to dodge death – yours for $333 a month

We're born, we work, we die. That biological injustice just doesn't mesh with the Silicon Valley mindset. Take centimillionaire Bryan Johnson, founder of digital payments company Braintree (not the hometown of The Prodigy), who has weasled his way into the mainstream media by virtue of his obsession with not dying. Johnson is …

  1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

    It's possible to live a very long time without being physically healthy, and to die quite young despite great physical health. And an obsession like this is by definition a sign of poor mental health. There are things you can do to ensure you don't die "early" due to health, but past that it's essentially random genetics that you can't predict or control in any way, and nobody's "secret to long life" will work for everyone and there's no way to know if it will work for you in particular. Just enjoy your life and be a good person so that the years you do get will be worth living.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "...but past that it's essentially random genetics that you can't predict or control in any way,..."

      Or being flattened by a bus...

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Boffin

        The best way to a healthy old age is to have healthy old parents and grandparents.

        Pots of money doesn't hurt, either, but it's not the be all and end all (expect for expensive medical care).

        1. cookieMonster Silver badge

          In the village where I grew up there was an old lady, when she was 100 yrs old she was on TV, and the presenter asked her what the secret to a long life was. Her reply, 10 cigarettes and a bottle of Guinness a day, with a whiskey on the weekends.

          1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

            Which probably means nothing would have killed her early no matter what she did because she happened to have a really good set of genes, and she wouldn't have lived any longer if she'd done all the healthy stuff either but she sure would have enjoyed it less.

            1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

              That's rather my point. As I approached retirement age I discussed this with my doctor, as to whether I would be likely to need my pension pot for years or if I should just pull it out and blow it on fast cars and fast women. He suggested that with three grandparents who reached a hundred (and one who died of silicosis in his eighties) and two parents going strong at the time in their eighties, I probably had a healthy set of genes irrespective of other issues.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why buses?

        Its a lazy trope that a random bus might punch your ticket. I drove buses for more than a decade and I rarely exceed two fatalities in any given year, and never in two years running.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why buses?

          So, you were under quota?

        2. nijam Silver badge

          Re: Why buses?

          > ... I rarely exceed two fatalities...

          You must have good genetics.

      3. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        In fairness, living in Silicon Valley drastically reduces one’s chances of being flattened by a bus...

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          In fairness, living in Silicon Valley drastically reduces one’s chances of being flattened by a bus...

          Self driving cars, on the other hand …

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "a sign of poor mental health"

      Or living in Sillycon Valley.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Yes, Silly Con Valley has more than it's fair share of whack-jobs[0], but to be fair most of them are not home-grown. They were drawn there by Marketing.

        [0] Although not as many, percentage wise, as, say, Congress ...

  2. HMcG

    You don't measure a life by it's length, you measure it by it's breadth..

    He probably isn't going to live longer, it's just going to seem like it. Time passes slowly when you're not having fun.

    1. Scott 26

      Re: You don't measure a life by it's length, you measure it by it's breadth..

      came here for that quote......

      thank you, internet stranger!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You don't measure a life by it's length, you measure it by it's breadth..

      Depth?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: You don't measure a life by it's length, you measure it by it's breadth..

        Both. Treat life as 3-dimensional.

      2. HMcG

        Re: You don't measure a life by it's length, you measure it by it's breadth..

        Breadth:

        1) the distance from one side to another: "The length of this box is twice its breadth."

        2) the fact of including many different things, features, subjects, or qualities: "The breadth of her experience is amazing."

  3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Meat

    Can't see any meat in the story.

    He is either secretly eating sausages or will probably drop dead soon.

    Mostly likely his body is keeping up _despite_ his diet rather than because of it.

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Meat

      Can't see any meat in the story.

      Lentils and nuts.

      It's fairly easy to get a complete protein complement is you pay any attention -- certainly when I was young most of Asia and South America lived on almost meat-free diets.

      In another 20 years, his protein-utilization efficiency will be dropping, and he may need to increase the protein % in his diet.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: Meat

        There are plenty of protein sources available in today's society for non-meat eaters, thanks to increased popularity. 37 years ago, when I turned strict vegetarian, it was almost unheard of - now, every mainstream market has readily available plant protein substitutes, available right off the store shelves. It's easy nowadays compared to yesteryear (but don't talk to me about working in the business area of a big city, a vast empty food wasteland).

        And, for the discussion, the last time someone guessed my age based upon my body condition (about 1.5 years ago) they pegged me at 35. So yeah, strict vegetarians age slower because we eat lower in the food degeneration cycle. But I'm also a complete gym rat so fitness and food play a big part.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meat

          Well, I am 60, no vegetarian, don't exercise much, and still look like I was 20 years ago but for the hair colour (turned white, but this is because of marital life I bet).

          And I appreciate the occasional beef Rossini, good cheese, good wines...

          I have nothing against vegetarian diet, as long as it doesn't try to hide in meat look alike (too many chemical products involved in the cosplay)

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Meat

            "I have nothing against vegetarian diet, as long as it doesn't try to hide in meat look alike"

            Absolutely this. Nothing wrong with vegetarian or vegan dishes, many of them are extremely tasty besides very nutritious. No reason to screw it all up to pretend it's not meat, and fail on both counts!

          2. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Meat

            Yeah, I'm close to 60 myself. 56 when I was pegged for 35 and got "OK, wow!" response from the other guy listening to our conversation. But like I said, I'm a complete gym rat now and do stupid human tricks at the gym (most exercises I'm at 130% to 150% of my body weight, do my pull-ups upside-down) so I'm not typical I guess. Still, I tell all the younger people at the gym when they watch me, "If I can do this, you can rock this!". Keeping active really helps.

    2. AdamWill

      Re: Meat

      Haven't eaten a sausage in 41 years and counting. Haven't dropped dead yet. Sadly won't be able to let you know if I do, but I'll leave someone my password...

  4. Apprentice Human

    Must be a fan of Lady Cassandra

    While watching Dr. Who I think he missed the part where she makes the demands to be moisturized. He's not looking very good for someone in their mid-40s.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Must be a fan of Lady Cassandra

      He's not looking very good for someone in their mid-40s.

      I think he looks excellent for an NPD diagnosis though, and why people tend to find them irritating. There is a bit of a deadpool on whether he'll make it to 50 though, and a lot of medical types removing cash faster than calories.

      1. Denarius Silver badge

        Re: Must be a fan of Lady Cassandra

        Too late for him. Someones been there, done that. I think Dr Mosely interviewed some USA bloke who lived on a starvation diet for most of his life, based on the longevity of starved mice findings. The diet didnt work for longevity, with bloke dying in his 60s. The dieter was reportedly healthier than other USAians in earlier ages. Which, IMHO, isnt saying much.

    2. Bebu Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Must be a fan of Lady Cassandra

      She ended up as an A4 size bit of skin stretched over something like an embroidery frame. If I recall correctly the Doctor made a crude allusion to the original location of that skin on her body.

      Even The Face of Boe (Capt Jack) eventually shuffled off the mortal.

  5. Dizzy Dwarf Bronze badge

    I only came here to make an AC/DC joke.

    You're welcome.

    Thank you very much folks. Goodnight, and God Bless.

  6. Andy the ex-Brit

    I'm older than him, but look younger than him (or did until I recently grew my beard out, which unlike the rest of my full head of hair is grey.) I drink beer and whisky, and get lots of exercise.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Pint

      Virtual brofist to a fellow slightly-older gentleman who also drinks booze and exercises.

      Honestly, the diet doesn't sound too bad, insofar as it contains about the right number of calories and decent nutrients, and if you engage in other healthy habits, you ought to be able to maintain whatever is a healthy weight for you while engaging in certain other vices. You might lose a few years off the end of your life, but aren't those the worst years, anyway? I'd rather have a heart attack in my seventies than dementia in my nineties (not that there's necessarily such a sharp dichotomy).

    2. Rikki Tikki

      "I drink beer and whisky, and get lots of exercise."

      The other way round, methinks. I found out the hard way that it's better not to drink beer before exercise.

      Oh, and curse you, Andy, and your full head of glossy black hair.

      :)

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Oh, and curse you, Andy, and your full head of glossy black hair.

        Seconded. Mind you, I have very few white hairs. I just don't have any other colour ones.

      2. Andy the ex-Brit
        Pint

        It's a sort of mousy brown (was so blonde it looked white until I was about five), but cheers!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Ditto but has reverted to what it was like before I was 5. Must try that line on SWMBO next time she comments.

  7. DS999 Silver badge

    Not sure that 1,977 calories a day qualifies as

    "a state of virtual starvation". That's probably more than 80% of the men in the world consume.

    No booze, on the other hand...

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Not sure that 1,977 calories a day qualifies as

      Also, 'dinner' at 10.00 am and 1977 calories a day seems to imply squeezing all of those 1977 calories into a single breakfast-lunch-dinner single meal. Surely not that healthy. Also AFAIK intermittent fasting works best with a mixed schedule rather than same schedule every day, and to really gain maximum benefit it's better to eat normally some days and completely fast on others (24-36 hours or more).

      Our hunter-gatherer and cavemen ancestors evolved while occasionally going a few days without food, and certain body-repair mechanisms (autophagy, gut repair) kick into high gear after many hours without food.

      Surely mixing that with a lifestyle more beneficial to mental health would work better overall?

  8. heyrick Silver badge

    consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

    Which isn't really saying much when the recommended daily intake for a man of his age starts at 2,200 calories (how much is actually required depends on activity, a middle manager will need less than a brickie, for example).

    And why the weird number? Given the vagaries of food, surely it would have sufficed to say "two thousand" rather than being so ridiculously exact.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

      It used to be 2,500 kcal per day for men and 2,000 kcal for women, but had to be changed to 2,000 kcal for both because the acknowledgement of sex-based variation was making the trans activist community very, very unhappy.

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

        > ... community very, very unhappy

        Doesn't everything?

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

        Or - and think about this - the original targets were set when more men did more manual work. It's the joy of averages. In fact they were largely based on experience during wartime (WWII) rationing (see p4 & p5) which was itself based on research carried out following the awful experiences across Europe during WWI. These days when the average man is not a steelworker, a miner, a farmer or a shipbuilder - or indeed a squaddie - and does not take large amounts of voluntary exercise, a lower average calorie intake is to be expected. In contrast women were never (wartime aside) big manual workers and still aren't. However, the key takeaway from both the sources I linked is that it's not just the number of calories which counts, it's the makeup of the foods which provide those calories.

        M.

    2. Andy the ex-Brit

      Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

      I'd literally starve. I'm a very healthy weight (161 lb / 74 kg at 5'9" / 1.75 m) and with the amount of exercise I get I'm burning an average of 3000 Calories a day. There's no way he can get enough exercise to keep his cardiovascular system healthy and not lose weight.

      1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

        Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

        You'd only need to gain 7 pounds to be considered "overweight" by the American medical system that uses BMI as a Holy Unit of Measurement. If you broke a leg and were laid up while it healed, you'd probably gain that and struggle to lose it for the rest of your life. But he doesn't necessarily have to do a lot of exercising to keep his cardiovascular system healthy. There are very obese people that have healthy hearts and clean arteries and livers because they hit the genetic lottery jackpot, meaning if they had cut their calories down severely early on, they wouldn't have gotten fat and wouldn't have needed to exercise which may be the way he is. He was probably destined to be a healthy weight, with good physical health, no matter what he did. His diet is probably 80% unrelated to his health and biological age, other than just not eating more than he was burning.

    3. MOH

      Re: consuming no more than 1,977 calories a day

      Because if he's 46 then that's the year of his birth.

      And clearly that should define the number of calories you eat

  9. NapTime ForTruth
    Holmes

    About that very specific 1,977 calories...

    ... I'll wager that's the year of his birth. Magical thinking is like that.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

      Can't be. He's in his 40s.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

        He’s 46, according to the article, or was as of late last year.

        And 2023 minus 1977 is…?

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

          Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

          too complicated to calculate on a Friday after Beer O'Clock

        2. Graham Dawson Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

          Oh shoot, I misread 1997.

          1. David 132 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

            :)

            I didn't downvote you. We all have senior moments, alas.

            Have another pint. I'm having one too, as I sit here in northern Oregon, awaiting what Apple Maps confidently (!) assures me will be 11" of snow over the next 24 hours...

          2. jake Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

            That reminds me, I still need to update the prescription for my reading glasses.

            Have another for the reminder.

            1. biddibiddibiddibiddi

              Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

              You get to write your own prescriptions? I have a business proposition for you.

      2. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

        So, he his 47?

    2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

      Re: About that very specific 1,977 calories...

      Or he's a fan of Ash.

  10. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Nothing new

    Historically, that's what the ruling caste has been obsessed with: after conquering, murdering, pillaging their way to the top, having it all, facing the fact that they can't take it with them.

    Sooner or later, they notice the guy who SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS sharpening a big agricultural implement.

    Then comes the final step: build some ridiculous structure, fill it with a lifetime results of your rapaciousness - oh, and take everyone around you with you, either via some priesthood with sharp cutlery or a nice refreshing cup of something frothing green.

    Waiting for Meta et all to introduce, with much fanfare, a policy of "no lay-offs, ever!". With the fine-print being "you will be entombed alive when Lord Zuck kicks the bucket".

    1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Nothing new

      For some reason, I am thinking of a Pyramidal scheme...

  11. IGotOut Silver badge

    Keith Richards....

    Is 80.....so yeeaaahhh.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Keith Richards....

      Yeahbut he's a special case ... Keith and the Tardigrades are the only beings that will survive the heat death of the Universe.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: Keith Richards....

        Not to mention he's looked 80 for about 80 years.

        1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

          Re: Keith Richards....

          The secret of perpetual youth: age early, live long?

      2. Montreal Sean

        Re: Keith Richards....

        We used to think that about Betty White...RIP sweet lady.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Keith Richards....

      Is 80.....so yeeaaahhh.

      I guess the phrase is "well pickled".

      Either that or he has a friendly necromancer (or *is* a necromancer)

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Keith Richards....

      I tend to nod knowingly at posts like these and upvote. Then I think "Hang on a minute..."

    4. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: Keith Richards....

      My guess is that the massive amounts of drugs and alcohol have had preservation effect on him.

  12. jake Silver badge

    It's just another fad diet.

    It wonlt work, any more than all the rest of them work.

    A wise man once said something about all things in moderation.

    Presumably that also includes moderation ...

    1. cookieMonster Silver badge

      Re: It's just another fad diet.

      Another wise person also mentioned something about fools and money

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Goop

    Is he trying to out gloop the gloop site?

    Now all that is needed is a candle that smells like his nether region

  14. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

    It is true that, even with a full complement of trace elements and essential nutrients, living just this side of malnutrition is associated with longevity. The downside is... you're living just this side of malnutrition.

    A centimillionaire is someone with $10000 in their account. I think the author meant hectomillionaire.

    1. sebacoustic

      Thanks, I'll self-identify a milli-millionaire from now on

      1. jmch Silver badge
        Devil

        Sure to attract lots of bimbos :)

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    "standard mix of ...

    That diet sounds like when I'm hungry but crave nothing specific so I munch on random ingredients. I'll live forever. Well, maybe if I ate smaller quantities of the random ingredients.

  16. Joe W Silver badge

    most nutritious food program

    Yeah... nuts et c. are really high calory food.

    Cannot do that diet and neither can I read his stuff, 'cause I'm allergic to nuts... (citation needed: the PFY - go and find the BOFH episode yourself).

  17. SundogUK Silver badge

    "weasled his way into the mainstream media"

    Really? He is living his life and doing what he chooses to do and the mainstream media have decided people might be interested/it might sell. Can't see any weasling going on.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Can't see any weasling going on."

      Just press releases.

  18. Bebu Silver badge
    Windows

    Still the silly season

    "standard mix of broccoli, cauliflower, black lentils"

    Lost me there - his "emissions" are probably not doing a lot for global warming. Could add brussel sprouts...

    The tree nuts, berries and 100% dark chocolate are nice enough if you can afford them and are chockers with antioxidants.

    Still after a week or two would become pretty tedious as would fresh truffles and beluga caviar I could imagine (chance would be a fine thing. :)

    Variety is the spice of life and I think it was Brillat-Savarin that remarked that all food was poison and to consume a little of a great variety of dishes (presumably to minimize the dose of any particular toxin or one to counteract another.)

    The restricted calorie diet, I think, is supposed to slow the loss of telomere but I don't think it can reverse or arrest the process and I think the evidence for calorie reduction in humans is unclear.

    He will be pretty pissed if after 40 years of this torture you can buy pills from the supermarket that do the same thing not that 2064 is likely to be a nice place.

    When I read the USD333.00/month my hunch is his purported diet is likely theatre and after hours he enjoys a decent cut of wagyu steak and a chilled imported japanese beer. :) You only need a 1000 subscribers and you are in clover. :) Float it, flog it and POQ.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Still the silly season

      Still after a week or two would become pretty tedious as would fresh truffles and beluga caviar I could imagine (chance would be a fine thing. :)

      There's a story from WW2: the sailors on the supply convoys to the USSR were treated as heroes and fed the best food the Russians could provide. This led to at least one of them writing a letter to his family complaining about the "crunchy fish jam" the Russians kept on giving them.

  19. Bebu Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    X (née Twitter) ?

    Shouldn't that be né?

    Enough tits on X already without tacking a bit of extraneous biology on to the platform's expiring body.

    Genotypically it would be XX but most would be asking XYY?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: X (née Twitter) ?

      It's definitely nee.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: X (née Twitter) ?

        We... are the knights who say 'X' ?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: X (née Twitter) ?

      "Shouldn't that be né?"

      Or nay if you don't agree with the boss.

      1. Spoobistle

        Re: X (née Twitter) ?

        Nay, twitter ye not!

        (with apologies to F. Howerd)

  20. Jedit Silver badge
    Headmaster

    "... in another 40 years or so one of us is going to look very silly"

    They say that genius is never appreciated in its own time. This is a good thing, as it means by the time it's confirmed that you're not a genius, you're already dead.

  21. low_resolution_foxxes

    Ha

    Well, frankly some of his ideas are OK. As a male if you jeep below 2000 calories, drink no booze and eat a mixed diet, frankly you don't need to follow the rest of his silliness (throwing in 20 minutes a day of exercise will also help).

  22. jmch Silver badge
    Devil

    The Register FTW

    "Johnson is 46 but doesn't look a day over 46"

    Reporting like this is why I love El Reg!!!

  23. Roger Kynaston
    Devil

    I know it is wrong

    You really shouldn't point at people and laugh but these idiots in Silly Valley really do make it hard for me not to.

    No I am off to eat some chocolate (not super dark) and drink some wine because Friday and the like of this Johnson have driven me to it

  24. Omnipresent Bronze badge

    It isn't defined by the physical.

    The digital is also dying. The singularity is near, and so is the borg. Eviiiillllllll has a name, and it comes from California.

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