We all know that some foods aren’t very healthy for our bodies. Did you know, however, that just eating some of these foods can actually shorten your life? That’s right: New Research shows that some foods add time while others take it away. Even just one hot dog, for example, can shorten your life by 36 minutes. (1)
New Reveals Eating Just One Hot Dog Can Take 36 Minutes Off Of Your Life
Naturally, we recognize that everything we feed our bodies has some sort of impact. For example, we know that foods high in calcium will have a positive impact on our bone health, while excessive calories can cause weight gain. Did you know, however, that what you eat can impact your lifespan? According to this new research, the foods you consume can either add or take away minutes from your life.
This is bad news for anyone who enjoys the occasional hot dog, as this food apparently will take 36 minutes off your life from eating just one. The researchers say it is because of the dangers of eating processed meats. Foods such as other processed meats, sugary drinks, and even breakfast sandwiches didn’t fare any better.
Researchers at the University of Michigan evaluated more than 5,800 foods by the minutes you gain or lose when you eat them, as well as their environmental impact. They used the Health Nutritional Index to determine the “net beneficial or detrimental health burden in minutes of healthy life associated with a serving of food consumed,”.(2)
They broke down each food based on their dietary risk factors and disease burdens. Each food ranged between 74 minutes of life lost and 80 minutes gained per serving. The foods were then placed in one of three categories, red, yellow, or green, with red being the most harmful and green being the healthiest.
Red Versus Green
Foods are designated to each of the three color zones based on a combination of their health and environmental impacts. Items such as hot dogs and breakfast sandwiches were placed in the red category. Green-zone foods include nuts, fruits, field-grown vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and some fish.
“Previous studies have often reduced their findings to a plant vs. animal-based foods discussion,” the researchers said. “Although we find that plant-based foods generally perform better, there are considerable variations within both plant-based and animal-based foods.”
The 36-minute loss from the hot dog is largely associated with the adverse health effects of processed meats. On the contrary, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwich gains 33 minutes, and a serving of nuts 26 minutes.
Small Changes Have The Biggest Impact
Before you jump to conclusions thinking that you have to make some really drastic changes to your daily eating habits, there’s still hope. The researchers say that it is actually small changes that will have the most benefit. This goes both for your personal health and for that of the environment. (3)
“substituting 10 per cent of daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and select seafood could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third and allow people to gain 48 minutes of healthy minutes per day” they explained.
The need to make these small changes is urgent, both for our own health and that of the planet. To make a difference in both human and planet health, the researchers suggest:
- Decreasing foods with the most negative health and environmental impacts including high processed meat, beef, shrimp, followed by pork, lamb and greenhouse-grown vegetables.
- Increasing the most nutritionally beneficial foods, including field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and low-environmental impact seafood.
“The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear,” said Olivier Jolliet, professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Michigan Public Health and senior author of the paper. “Our findings demonstrate that small targeted substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring dramatic dietary shifts.”
So maybe the next time you’re at the fair or a backyard barbecue, you may want to skip the hot dog and opt for something a bit on the healthier side. Your body and the earth will thank you.
- “Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human and environmental health.” Nature. Katerina Stylianou, et al.
- “Small Changes in Diet Could Help You Live Healthier, More Sustainably.” SPH. August 19, 2021.
- “EATING ONE HOT DOG COULD SHORTEN LIFE BY 36 MINUTES, NEW STUDY SUGGESTS.” Independent. Chelsea Ritschel. August 24. 2021.