(ABC4) – Enjoy a good hot dog? You may want to reconsider eating one next time you are at the ballpark or a cookout – a new study shows these foods could take minutes off of your life.
A study from the University of Michigan shows eating a hot dog with a bun could cost 36 minutes of healthy life. Maybe you like corned beef? A serving of corned beef with tomato sauce and onion could cost you 71 minutes. Eating other foods like burgers, egg/breakfast sandwiches, pizza, and even soups could also take minutes off your life.
During the study, University of Michigan researchers evaluated more than 5,800 foods and ranked them based on their nutritional disease burden to humans, and their impact on the environment. While the study found many foods, like those above, have a negative impact on our life spas, they also found some foods can actually add minutes to our lives.
For example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could add up to 33 minutes to your life per serving. Even an apple pie could add 1.3 minutes, according to the study. Overall, researchers say substituting 10% of your daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and some seafood could not only allow you to gain 48 minutes of ‘healthy minutes’ per day, but it could also reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third.
“Generally, dietary recommendations lack specific and actionable direction to motivate people to change their behavior, and rarely do dietary recommendations address environmental impacts,” says Katerina Stylianou, who did the research as a doctoral candidate and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at U-M’s School of Public Health.
The study was based on a new epidemiology-based nutritional index, the Health Nutritional Index. To determine the environmental impact of foods, University of Michigan researchers used IMPACT World+, a method to assess the life cycle impact of foods. Researchers used three color zones – green, yellow, and red – to classify foods based on their combined nutritional and environmental performances.
Here is a look at how some foods ranked:
- GREEN: Nuts, fruits, field-grown vegetables, legumes, whole grains, some seafood
- YELLOW: Most poultry, dairy like milk and yogurt, egg-based foods, cooked grains like rice, and vegetables procuded in a greenhouse
- RED: Beef, processed meat, pork, lamb, cheese-based foods, and some salmon dishes.
Researchers say, based on their findings, we should cut back on foods with the most negative health and environmental impacts like beef, shrimp, pork, lamb, and greenhouse-grown vegetables while eating more field-grown fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, low-environmental impact seafood. For more on their findings, and to review the full research report, visit the University of Michigan.