Charlie Munger ate peanut brittle, drank Diet Coke, and refused to exercise — and still lived to 99. Did that make him a SuperAger?

  • Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has died age 99.

  • Munger wasn't obsessed with longevity like other billionaires.

  • Genetics probably played a large part in his health, an aging expert told Business Insider.

Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and right-hand man to Warren Buffett, has died age 99.

Munger was known as an investing legend (his net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $2.6 billion) but also a purveyor of worldly advice.

Despite living for nearly a century, Munger wasn't obsessed with achieving optimal health or trying to live for as long as possible. He didn't care for grueling fitness regimes or punishing diets.

Munger was a fan of donuts (in moderation), peanut brittle, and Diet Coke, and he avoided exercise as best he could, he said. He used a wheelchair in his later years but was mentally sharp when he died, the Associated Press reported.

These factors raise the question of whether Munger was a "SuperAger," a term used to describe people over the age of 80 who retain certain cognitive abilities, such as good memory, that are similar to people in their 50s.

Factors such as maintaining strong relationships have been found to be a key part of SuperAging in small-scale research, as well as not smoking and keeping active.

The brains of so-called "super-agers" also have distinctly thicker cortices (the gray-matter-rich outer layer), BI previously reported.

But as a SuperAger researcher previously told Business Insider's Hilary Brueck, these individuals don't necessarily follow what we might consider healthy lifestyles.

Charlie Munger's lifestyle included treats in moderation

Munger didn't eat a restrictive diet but enjoyed everything in moderation. He had a particular soft spot for peanut brittle.

"I'm eating this good peanut brittle," he told CNBC during an interview in February 2023. "That's what you want to do if you want to live to be 99. I hate to advertise my own product, but this is the key to longevity."

Munger favored peanut brittle by See's Candy, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

During a keynote speech at Zoomtopia in October 2023, Munger explained his philosophy on sweet treats.

"Charlie made the point that donuts aren't good for you, but you can have them every now and then. You have to be disciplined though, and know that you can only have so much for it to not be bad for you. It was cute, and it illustrated Charlie's mental discipline," Melody Brue, VP and principal tech analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, who was at the event, told Business Insider.

Brue also said that Munger stayed connected to people through Zoom when he was unable to get out and about so much. Research suggests that maintaining strong relationships with friends and family plays an important role in healthy aging.

Munger was also a believer in the importance of cutting toxic people out of your life, he said.

In the CNBC interview, Munger was sipping Diet Coke as well as eating peanut brittle, and he shared his view on exercise: "I've done almost no exercise on purpose in my life. If I enjoyed an activity like tennis, I would exercise, but for the first 99 years, I've gotten by without doing any exercise at all."

The only exception to that was when he served in the US Army Air Force for three years and had to exercise, Munger said.

Munger's genetics probably played a role in his longevity

Asked whether Munger was a SuperAger, Dawn Skelton, a professor of aging and health at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, told BI it was likely that his genetics played a large role in his longevity.

"Good genetics are a wonderful thing," she said. "Living to age 99 while avoiding exercise and physical activity is unusual."

While living to 99 is not as rare as it used to be, few people in their 90s are able to get about as they used to if they haven't embedded physical activity into their life, Skelton said.

"Though perhaps avoiding sugar and smoking, being pragmatic about aging, and having a sense of humor has helped," she added.

Read the original article on Business Insider