How Your Diet Can Affect Life Insurance Rates

Written by Jason Fisher

berriesDid you know what you eat can have an impact on your rates for life insurance? It’s true, your diet can affect life insurance rates to the point of not being able to get covered!

Food and drinks you consume have short term and long term effects on your health, some good and some bad. While most people don’t think about this, there is especially high correlation when considering a policy requiring a medical exam.

Supplementation, in addition to normal meals, may also throw up a flag.

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Curious to know if you’re doing things right or wrong? Continue reading below and we’ll break down a few of the most problematic snacks and more.

Your Diet’s Affect On Life Insurance

Will a cookie a day keep the good rates away? Well, not really; that may be a bit extreme.

When it comes to life insurance, the top tier rates are given to those who have the best overall health and least risky profile to the insurance carrier they apply to. The food you’re eating on a regular basis could take a toll on you and effect some of the very things you’ll be checked for when applying:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Glucose Levels
  • Cholesterol Levels
  • Liver Enzymes
  • Creatinine Levels
  • and more…

For most Americans, they’ll fall somewhere in the corridor of “normal” or “healthy” when their blood results are given, but occasionally we get clients who swear they are as healthy as can be but got some atypical result which decreased they’re approval rating. If your health is in a place where you feel you will not do well on the required medical exam for your policy, learn how you can obtain a 1 million life insurance policy with no medical exam. There are also guaranteed issue life insurance policies which are, as the name implies, guaranteed to be issued as long as you answer a few very, very basic questions. They might not even require an exam of any type, which could be very advantageous if you have health concerns.

While everyone’s body will break down foods differently, there are certain compounds that take longer to dissolve or filter. Prolonged use or using just before an exam could show a false positive for something more serious. Things like:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Artificial Sweeteners
  3. Caffeine
  4. Poppy Seeds
  5. Prescriptions or OTC Medicines
  6. Supplements (like Creatine)
  7. Vitamins


While it may seem obvious that drinking alcohol before a medical exam is silly, even having too much the day or night before can skew results. Hard liquors, too much wine or excessive beer can stay in your system even longer if you’re dehydrated and your body can purge the toxins.


Artificial sweeteners, and even some natural ones which are potent in fruits, can throw off results as well. Soda, candy, or other things high in high fructose corn syrup have shown up in blood results as someone testing abnormally for things like Diabetes, where glucose levels have spiked or fallen.


Caffeine can raise your blood pressure if you have too much. Most people know this as getting the “jitters” or by another similar term.

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds can show up as an opiate drug use, so even a poppy seed bagel within a few hours of your exam could throw up a flag for someone reviewing your application and blood panel. Always let the examiner know what you ate if you didn’t fast as prescribed.


Medications, cold medicines, antihistamines and over-the-counter drugs may cause abnormalities, although it’s a little less likely to get your rating blemished unless you don’t make your examiner aware. Most applications have these questions on them, so you’ll be reminded throughout the application process.


Supplements, especially for those who are athletes, pose special risks because a person is purposely taking them to enhance their performance or endurance. This, again, won’t make a huge impact, but it can raise questions if someone doesn’t disclose what they’re taking. Some, like NCAA or professional sports guidelines, are not allowed.


Vitamins extra high in certain vitamin or mineral categories can also give a false positive for life insurance underwriting. While these are much more common, just be sure to explain what your’e taking, even if it’s just a baby aspirin once a day.

Your Weight (BMI)

Of course, if what you eat or drink over a long period of time has caused you to add significant weight, this, in and of itself, is a bigger issue, although you can still obtain life insurance for overweight individuals.

Certain BMI’s (body mass indexes) are not insurable by traditional life insurance underwriting, and you’d be surprised how many people fall into this category. But along with extra weight comes extra risks for things like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even heart disease.

The greater someone’s BMI, the greater risk they are to a carrier in a linear fashion.

There are many other topics in our Blog that allow you to learn more on what affects Life Insurance, such as different diseases, items listed on your medical history, such as suicidal thoughts, the use of alcohol and more, so make sure to check it out!

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