Why UNhealthy People DON’T Get Sick!

In part one we asked the question “Why Do Healthy People Get Sick?

We discovered there’s more to good health than exercising regularly and making wise food choices, and that stress is a major contributor to health problems and chronic disease.

Stress takes many forms these days. It can be mental, emotional, financial, relationship stress or a combination of stressors, and while many of life’s hardships are out of our control, it’s how we respond to these situations that determines whether our immune systems will take a hit OR whether we’ll thrive.

But it also raises another very interesting question…

Why do Some Unhealthy People Never Get Sick?

Maybe you’ve heard about the man or woman that drank, smoked, and lived a life of excess, yet still managed to live to the ripe old age of 100 and died of natural causes?

So what is it about these individuals that makes them different?

The answers lie with the Whitehall 2 study which tracked 20,000 British civil servants between 2002 and 2006.

This comprehensive study recorded every individual’s daily habits, whether they smoked, drank alcohol, and other lifestyle choices. Metrics were recorded such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, body weight etc. The study noted who lived and who died, and what, if any, were the biggest predictors of death.

However what made this study unique was that participant’s cortisol slopes were observed.

The Cortisol Slope

Cortisol is a stress hormone and if you were to measure this from the time you wake until you go to bed, the slope should be a steady downward trend. However, when you’re stressed, in a state of fear, stay up late at night, expose yourself to night time blue light, and/ or sleep poorly, your circadian rhythm and cortisol slope can become disrupted.

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Posted by Food Matters on Wednesday, August 9, 2017


The most startling outcome of the Whitehall 2 study was that after reviewing total cause mortality, the smokers who had a healthy stress response and a normal cortisol slope, uniformly outlived their stressed out, non smoking counterparts!

What’s more, this study found that high stress levels were the biggest predictor of death than all the other lifestyle metrics – such as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and being overweight.

In other words, you might have what you consider to be a very healthy lifestyle. You might be exercising regularly, avoiding toxins, and maintaining a healthy body weight, however if you have an inappropriate stress response, your quality and quantity of life could be seriously compromised.

Put more simply…

Stress can cancel out the otherwise healthy benefits of good nutrition, regular exercise and other positive lifestyle choices.


(To the non-stressed, laid back individuals that say, “Oh well, that gives me an excuse to opt out of exercise, to eat, drink and be merry,” my argument would be, imagine how healthy you could be if you exercised, slept 8 hours every night, ate healthy and had a healthy stress response…)

It goes without saying that the implications of this study are incredibly profound. It’s a wake up call that we need to do everything possible to keep our keep stress levels in check, and perhaps even more importantly, to have coping tools and stress management techniques in place.

Click here for part three & my top 10 stress busting tips to live a long, happy and healthy life…

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