Does Food Affect Your Lifespan?
According to a University of Michigan study, eating a hot dog could cost you 36 minutes of a healthy life, while choosing to eat a serving of nuts instead could help you gain 26 minutes of extra healthy life.
The study, published in the journal Nature Food, evaluated more than 5,800 foods, ranking them by their nutritional disease burden to humans and their impact on the environment.
Does my food also affect my environment?
The food we consume also has effects on our planet.
Researchers of this study studied impact of production, processing, manufacturing, preparation/cooking, consumption, waste of the foods we eat. They classified foods into three color zones: green, yellow and red, based on their combined nutritional and environmental performances, much like a traffic light.
The green zone represents foods that are recommended to increase in one’s diet and contains foods that are both nutritionally beneficial and have low environmental impacts. Foods in this zone are predominantly nuts, fruits, field-grown vegetables, legumes, whole grains and some seafood.
So how can I make small positive changes in my diet?
Based on their findings, the researchers suggest:
- Decreasing foods with the most negative health and environmental impacts including high processed meat, beef, shrimp, followed by pork, lamb and greenhouse-grown vegetables.
- Increasing the most nutritionally beneficial foods, including field-grown fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and low-environmental impact seafood.
Reference : Katerina S. Stylianou, Victor L. Fulgoni, Olivier Jolliet. Small targeted dietary changes can yield substantial gains for human and environmental health. Nature Food, 2021; 2 (8): 616 DOI: 10.1038/s43016-021-00343-4
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