Some say because I'm vegan since I was 14 I remained a child. I have never been short by any means, I am the tallest guy in my entire Romanian family (my grandma had 11 children and the other grandma had 6).

At 22 I barely look 16 in person and girls think I'm too young for them. But honestly, I believe it has more to do with the fact that I avoid the sun like a vampire and my skin remained clear and smooth.

Also, I think I have less testosterone than most males in my city. I sit at around 670 ng/dl this year but all the other guys at my age look way older than me. I'm not as hairy and never developed an actual beard, I'm quite muscular and have a large back and legs but having low body fat makes my neck and cheeks look skinny, like a child, so probably it has nothing to do with veganism.

On the other hand, the idea of a plant diet maintaining youth seems decently spread around. Is there any truth to it? If anyone could find any piece of literature about this, I'd be really thankful.


3 Answers 3


There is no scientific evidence that proves this

Moreover, it would be quite difficult to make a controlled study about this that would show any causation. Subjectivity aside, people who follow a vegan diet often also engage in other "healthy" lifestyle choices.

Age is a very well defined concept, both in the dictionary and biologically. The perception of an individual's age in the eyes of others is however greatly subjective and as you yourself expose, there are many other factors that contribute to that. How your skin looks or sun exposure are prominent ones, but there are many others, all of which are far more influential than diet.

Stating that a vegan diet would somehow make you look younger would be an extraordinary claim for which we would need equally extraordinary evidence. Until then it's just an urban legend.

As obvious as it sounds, a healthy lifestyle can of course have a positive impact on your health. And while we normally associate youth with health, at 22, you are still a young adult.

  • 1
    Citations would be good if you have them. I don't think the idea that a vegan diet makes you appear to age slower is so "extraordinary" that you can say that without proof otherwise the answer is definitely no. After all, there are other known things that do have that effect - limited sun exposure, as you say, or not smoking. Actually, though, I think the original question may be less about ageing and more about slower growth/maturity, which is rather a different thing.
    – A. B.
    Commented May 27, 2021 at 4:03
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    @A.B. since it's not possible to demonstrate what's not falseable, proper literature beyond more conjectures is unlikely to exist. Point taken anyway, I will change "NO" to "There is NO scientific evidence that this is true".
    – istepaniuk
    Commented May 31, 2021 at 11:58

Regarding your specific case, since you're still so young anyway, I'd agree that your apparent younger age is likely not due to you being vegan. I remember meeting young people in their twenties or teenagers who looked a lot younger than their age, and they were not vegan then as far as I knew. Everyone is unique.

Now to answer your question, it's not easy to prove this because there are just too many variables, from genetic makeup to other lifestyle choices, not to mention the fact that there can be a huge variety in individual vegan diets, for example, over-reliance on processed foods.

However, there are many studies showing that a plant based diet is healthier. If you associate health and longevity with youth, you could say that there is a link. Also, it depends on how one defines youth. Is it better skin? Strength? Mobility? Living longer? More energy? I'm not aware of any diet that prevents grey hair, for example.

If you do enough research you will find plenty of anecdotal or scientific evidence pointing to improvements in various "youth" indicators, from following a balanced wholefood plant based diet. The film "The Game Changers" for example, has one vegan man saying that his grandchildren cannot keep up with him. That's just the first thing that comes to mind, there are better examples out there.

As for a definitive scientific study or "proof" that a person stays and looks younger in all aspects, due to a plant based diet, I am not aware of one, which is not to say that it does not exist or that there will never be one. Perhaps when the whole world turns vegan we'll be able to see how much younger the new generation looks.


Honestly, if people think you're younger than you actually are, it probably has more to do with your style of clothes and grooming than any physical effect except for your weight - plump people tend to be perceived as older than their slender peers. If it bothers you, ways to be seen as older include "professional" clothes, "grown-up" haircuts, and any style of facial hair.


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