Recent news stories have proclaimed that “eating a hot dog will take off 35 minutes of you life,” all based on one study. However, many are wondering if that’s actually true and, if it is, if it’s even something they should feel worried about. Read on to find out!
Hot Dogs: Life Killer?
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences recently completed a study that classified foods by the nutritional index. The study was published in the Nature journal as “Health Nutritional Index.” To do so, they ranked more than 10,000 products. After ranking the foods, it also assigned a number reflecting from the effect on one’s life, from 74 minutes lost to 80 minutes gained per serving.
And over 5,000 of those ended up in the “potentially risky” category. Most of these are not only bad for your health but also for the environment! “We use the results to inform marginal dietary substitutions, which are realistic and feasible,” the authors wrote. “We find that small, targeted, food-level substitutions can achieve compelling nutritional benefits and environmental impact reductions.”
According to the study, sugary drinks and hot dogs can take off 35 minutes from your life. For hot dogs, in particular, they are “largely due to the detrimental effect of processed meat,” the researchers said.
Want to add some minutes to your life? There are quite a few, healthier options…
Peanut Butter & Jelly: Life Saver
So, what should you consume for a longer and healthier life? Well, fruits, non-starchy and mixed vegetables, granola, and cooked grains all lead to decent gains. Surprisingly, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on natural wheat bread adds a whopping 33 minutes on Earth!
“Previous studies investigating healthy or sustainable diets have often reduced their findings to a discussion of plant-based versus animal-based foods, with the latter stigmatized as the least nutritious and sustainable,” the study reads. “Although we find that plant-based foods generally perform better, there are considerable variations within both plant-based and animal-based foods that should be acknowledged before such generalized inferences are warranted.”
Eating What’s Right For Mother Earth
Want to help Mother Earth? Well, the foods you pick matter! The safest foods are nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-farmed seafood. And, in case you didn’t know, junk food is not just bad for you – it’s terrible for the Earth too! Beef, processed meat, pork and lamb, and cheese-based foods can wreak havoc on local environments.
“In agreement with previous studies, this suggests that nutritionally beneficial foods might not always generate the lowest environmental impacts and vice versa,” the study authors wrote.
The study also says that there’s a much easier way to be healthy, with minimum effort. Just swap 10% of daily caloric consumption from beef and processed meat to options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and some seafood. This will result in a gain of up to 48 minutes per person per day and a 33% smaller carbon footprint.