You might want to think twice about the food you eat.
Before you munch into that hot dog, pizza or burger, you might want to reconsider your food choices. Health researchers at the University of Michigan, USA have found that eating a single beef hot dog could take 36 minutes off your life.
The study which was published this month in the journal Nature Food looked at 5,853 foods in the US diet and measured their effects in minutes in terms of the amount of life gained or lost. It ranked them by their nutritional disease burden to humans and their impact on the environment.
Based on a study called the Global Burden of Disease, which measures morbidity associated with a person’s food choices, the team came up with an index that calculates the net beneficial or detrimental health burden in minutes of healthy life associated with a serving of food.
It found that 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 life per day.
The researchers found that a standard beef hot dog on a bun contains 61 grams of processed meat resulting in the loss of 27 minutes of a healthy life, but when ingredients like sodium and trans fatty acids were factored in, the final value was 36 minutes.
According to the study, other popular foods which may shorten your life include:
- Pizza: 7 minutes, 8 seconds,
- Double cheeseburger: 8 minutes, 8 seconds
Whilst foods that add to your lifespan, including nuts, legumes, seafood, fruits and non-starchy vegetables include:
- Avocados: 2 minutes, 8 seconds,
- Bananas: 13 minutes, 30 seconds,
- Salmon: 13 minutes and 5 seconds,
- Peanut butter and jam sandwich: 33 minutes and 6 seconds.
A professor of environmental health sciences at the university and senior author of the paper Olivier Jolliet told CNN that, “We wanted to make a health-based evaluation of the beneficial and detrimental impacts of the food in the entire diet.”
“The point is to choose better foods, not to spend time doing the math. Is it the ultimate metric that will tell you exactly what to eat tomorrow and entirely determine your life expectancy? No.”
“The index is primarily there to help aid in selecting and using calories consumed on a daily basis to tweak a minimum of habits and make the minimum of change to obtain a maximum benefit for health and the environment from our food experience,” Jolliet said.
Let’s hope that our national favourites such as nasi lemak, teh tarik and roti canai are not as damaging as the hot dogs.
Check out the full report here.
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