Would you give up 36 minutes of “healthy living” to enjoy a hot dog? That’s the trade-off, according to a new study that finds small changes in our diets could help us live healthier and more sustainably. Researchers from the University of Michigan have released a nutrition index to help Americans plan healthier and more environmentally stable diets.
The study evaluates more than 58-hundred foods, ranking them by their impact on the environment and health burden to humans and how many minutes of healthy life are gained or lost per serving.
- The foods studied range from 74 minutes lost to 80 minutes gained per serving.
- The biggest losers? Sugary drinks, hot dogs, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches top the list for most minutes of healthy life lost.
- And for the largest gains? Fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and cooked grains are among the foods that add the most minutes per serving.
- More specifically, an 85-gram serving of chicken wings translates to 3.3 minutes of life lost, thanks to the sodium and trans fats and a hot dog results in 36 minutes lost because of the “detrimental effect of processed meat.”
- On the positive side, beans and rice add 13 minutes, baked salmon adds 16 minutes, salted peanuts add 26 minutes and a PB&J can increase healthy living by 33 minutes.
- Overall, researchers suggest switching 10% of your daily calories from beef and processed meats to a mix of fruits, legumes, nuts, certain seafood, and vegetables.
- They say doing this could give you an extra 48 minutes of healthy living a day and slash your dietary carbon footprint by about a third.
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