SAN FRANCISCO – Hold the hot dog — a recent study suggests eating just one could take 36 minutes off your life.
The study analyzed nearly 6,000 foods in the U.S. diet and measured their effects on minutes of healthy life gained or lost. To arrive at their findings, researchers devised an index that calculates the net beneficial or detrimental health burden in minutes of healthy life associated with a serving of food.
It’s all based on a study called the Global Burden of Disease, which measures morbidity associated with one’s choices of food.
One of the foods the researchers analyzed was a standard beef hot dog on a bun. According to the study, its 61 grams of processed meat resulted in the loss of 27 minutes of healthy life. But when you add ingredients like sodium and trans fatty acids, the estimated total loss was 36 minutes.
“Scores for frankfurter and breakfast sandwiches, burgers and red meat are almost exclusively negative, indicating that eating an additional serving of these foods is health-damaging,” study authors warn.
On the other end of the spectrum, consumption of foods like nuts, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables have positive effects on health, according to the study.
“Increasing the consumption of nuts and of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (driven by nut content), legumes, seafood, fruits, snack bars, ready-to-eat cereals and non-starchy vegetables is health beneficial,” the authors wrote.
Looking for a lunch alternative to your hot dog plans? Researchers found that pb&j could actually add 33 minutes to your life, the top score for any food tracked, according to the full study results.