While no single study is definitive, new research from the University of Michigan may have many of us rethinking what we eat. The study developed a formula and found that eating a single hotdog could shave 36 minutes off your life span.
The researchers looked at almost 6,000 foods in the US diet and measured their effects in minutes on the lifespan of the eater. The goal of the study was to make more visceral the impact individual foods have on our health.
Researchers developed an index that calculates the net benefit or determent to health according to minutes of life by consuming a single food. It is based in part on the Global Burden of Disease study that measures morbidity by a person’s food choices.
Some other examples from the index include: 0.45 minutes are lost per gram of processed meat a person consumes. Don’t worry, the index works both ways. 0.1 minutes are gained per gram of fruit consumed.
As stated, one food researched was a standard beef hot dog on a bun. With 61 grams of processed meat, one would lose 27 minutes of life. But when other ingredients like sodium or trans fatty acids were factored by the index, the final value was 36 minutes of life lost.
Unsurprisingly the study found that eating things like legumes, nuts, seafood, non-starchy vegetables and fruit had positive effects on health and longevity.
Consumption of foods such as nuts, legumes, seafood, fruits and non-starchy vegetables, on the other hand, have positive effects on health, the study found.
Study authors warned that the point of the study is not to say if you eat this bad food, eating that good food will end in a zero sum. But rather to make the choosing the best calories to consume. The point isn’t even to say never eat a hot dog, but it is certainly a food you want to limit in your diet. The study is not intended to tell us exactly what to eat day to day, but just one metric to help make better choices.