Every hot dog you eat takes 35 minutes off your life, study suggests

Every hot dog you eat takes 35 minutes off your life, study suggests

Would you pay for a hot dog with 35 minutes of your life? You might just have to.

According to new research from the University of Michigan School of Public Health – in which researchers ranked more than 5,000 foods by minutes gained or lost off healthy life per serving – a hot dog knocks off just over half an hour of someone’s life due to the “detrimental effects of processed” meat, salt and fat. All the good stuff, then.

The foods studied ranged from 74 minutes lost to 80 minutes gained per serving. Sugary drinks, hot dogs, burgers and breakfast sandwiches were linked with most minutes of healthy life lost, whereas fruits, non-starchy and mixed vegetables, ready-to-eat cereals and cooked grains were associated with the largest gains.

Researchers found that consuming one 85-gram serving of chicken wings translated to 3.3 minutes of life lost, because of sodium and trans fatty acids. However, peanut butter and jam sandwiches were associated with an increase of 33 minutes – so maybe the best thing to do is eat a hot dog and a sandwich back to back.

Foods like salted peanuts, baked salmon and rice with beans were also associated with gains between 10 and 15 minutes.

Writing in the study, the researchers said: “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 stigmatised as the least nutritious and sustainable.

“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 generalised inferences are warranted.”

Researchers also classified foods by nutritional and environmental impact, or shorter-term global warming. Healthy environmentally sustainable foods included nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and some seafood, whereas foods with poor nutritional value and production linked to high environmental impacts included beef, processed meat, pork and lamb and cheese-based foods.

“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.

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