In what will undoubtedly be the worst news we hear all week, researchers at the University of Michigan have published a study which suggests that every hot dog you eat could reduce your lifespan by 35 minutes. That’s a whole episode of Eastenders!
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Studying 5,800 commonly-eaten foods, they also found that chicken wings will subtract 3.3 minutes of your life, while – surprisingly – a peanut butter and jam sandwich could increase your lifespan by over half an hour.
Indeed, it’s not all bad news. Using the Global Burden of Disease study, academics assessed each food’s nutritional value based on 15 risk factors and disease burden estimates. Here’s how different foods affect your lifespan, according to this study…
- Peanut butter and jam sandwich: +33.1 minutes
- Baked salmon: +13.5 minutes
- Banana: +13.5 minutes
- Tomatoes: +3.8 minutes
- Avocado: +2.8 minutes
- French fries: +1.5 minutes
- Cheddar: -1.4 minutes
- Bacon: -6.5 minutes
- Pizza: -7.8 minutes
- Double cheeseburger: -8.8 minutes
- Soft drink: -12.4 minutes
- Hot dog: -36.3 minutes
The paper specifically looked at ‘healthy life expectancy’ – the length of time a person has a good quality of life and is disease free. They concluded that switching 10% of your caloric intake from processed meat to a mix of fruits, legumes, nuts, select seafoods and vegetables could give you 48 minutes of healthy life extra per day, not to mention reduce the carbon footprint of your food by a third.
Study leader, Olivier Jolliet of the University of Michigan, said of the findings:
We use the results to inform marginal dietary substitutions, which are realistic and feasible. We find that small, targeted, food-level substitutions can achieve compelling nutritional benefits and environmental impact reductions.
The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear
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 yeah, a tough (but tasty) pill to swallow when it comes to hotdogs, chicken wings, pizza and the like. How am I ever going to eat those food items again without thinking of this study and the exact amount of minutes I’m taking off my life with each delicious bite? I guess it’s just one of those existential realities we all have to live with.
Or maybe I’ll just eat some salmon and an avocado for every burger or hot dog I wolf down? It’s all about balance at the end of the day.
To meet the 17-year-old boy who went blind after eating only chips, sausages and pringles for a decade, click HERE. He’s probably only got a couple hours left.