Study finds being OUTDOORS helps you live longer
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Science has consistently highlighted the importance of diet to stave off illnesses. Now, new data has drawn a stark illustration of the benefits of cutting back on certain foods while increasing intake of others. The findings suggest that hotdogs, in particular, could shorten healthy lifespans by more than half an hour.
A new index assessing the nutritional impact of almost 6,000 foods, found that every hotdog a person eats could shorten life by 36 minutes.
Experts at the University of Michigan said the index also measured the carbon footprint of each product, to better understand the impact of food on the planet.
The index accounted for all aspects of a product’s life cycle, including how it was produced, processed, consumed and disposed of, as well as how calorific and nutritionally beneficial a food was, explained the study’s author.
The researchers said: “For example, we found that, on average, 0.45 minutes are lost per gram of any processed meat that a person eats in the US.
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“The 61 grams of processed meat in a hotdog sandwich results in 27 minutes of healthy life lost due to this amount of processed meat alone.
“Then, when considering the other risk factors, like the sodium and trans fatty acids inside the hotdog – counterbalanced by the benefit of its polyunsaturated fat and fibres – we arrived at the final value of 36 minutes of healthy life lost per hotdog.”
Conversely, the researchers found that peanut butter could add 33 years to your lifespan.
Salmon also scored green for nutritional impact, adding 16 minutes to a lifespan. However, since salmon’s environmental impact is deemed detrimental, the food scored red overall.
Professor Olivier Jolliet, study author from the University of Michigan added: “The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear.
“Our findings demonstrate that small target substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring dramatic dietary shifts.
As numerous studies have previously pointed out, processed meat often consists of unrecognisable ingredients, including chemicals, colouring, sweeteners and preservatives.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), among the leading causes of death are three highly preventable conditions; heart disease, dementia and cancer.
Although the risk factors for each of these conditions are varied, they pertain mainly to lifestyle factors, including diet.
Furthermore, the WHO has classed processed meat as a cause of cancer, after growing research linked it to the killer disease.
One study, published in the Critical Review in Food and Science, found that eating processed meat increased the risk of death from coronary heart disease by 18 percent.
The increased risk of mortality was down to just 50 grams of bacon, ham, or sausages per day.
Katerina Stylianou, lead author of the study said: “Previous studies have often reduced their findings to a plant versus animal-based foods discussion.
“Although we find that plant-based foods generally perform better, there are considerable variants within both planet-based and animal-based foods.”
The NHS stresses the importance of coupling a healthy diet with exercise for optimal health.
The health body suggests: “Try to regularly do exercise that strengthen your bones and muscles – any amount you do it better than none, but adults should aim to do strengthening activities at least two times a week.”
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