EVERY bite you eat could add or knock off minutes or even years from your life, research suggests.
Science has always shown that an unhealthy diet has highly unfavourable outcomes, contibuting to sometimes deadly disease.
But day-to-day, we don't often think about how individual food choices impact how long we will live.
Experts at the University of Michigan calculated the health burden of different foods, becoming the first to put concrete scores on your favourite snacks.
They found that a portion of nuts can add almost 26 minutes to a person’s life, reports The Telegraph.
But every hotdog eaten shortens lifespan by 36 minutes.
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Meanwhile a peanut butter and jam sandwich gives a person more than half an hour extra.
The study, published in the journal Nature Food, is based around healthy life expectancy – the length of time a person has a good quality of life and is disease free.
The scientists behind the findings calculated the direct influence of some 6,000 various meals, snacks and drinks.
They showed that if someone who eats beef and processed meats (like bacon) swapped just 10 per cent of their calories for plant-based food, they could gain 48 extra minutes of life per day.
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The worst foods
The worst foods per portion, according to The Telegraph, were:
Hot dogs: -36 minutes
Bacon: -26 minutes
Cheeseburger: -8.8 minutes
Soft drinks (fizzy or sweetened): -12.4 minutes
Packaged snacks and bread: Various reductions in lifespan
Peanut butter and jam sandwhich: +33.1 minutes
Baked salmon: +13.5 minutes
Banana: +13.5 minutes
Tomatoes: +3.8 minutes
Avocado: +1.5 minutes
The purpose of the study was to look both at the impact of food on health and the environment.
Researchers gave each food a traffic light rating based on whether we should eat more or less of the product.
Salmon scored green for nutritional impact – adding 16 minutes – however it got a red overall because of its environmental impact.
Meanwhile Cola got a red for nutritional – but a green for environmenal.
Processed meats scored badly in both areas, due to carbon footprint and links with diseases.
The university hopes that the findings will encourage people to make better choices for themselves – as well as the environment.
Study author Prof Olivier Jolliet said: “The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear.
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“Our findings demonstrate that small targeted substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring dramatic dietary shifts.
“The Health Nutritional Index takes into account all aspects of a product’s life cycle, including how it is produced, harvested, processed, consumed and disposed of, as well as how calorific and nutritionally beneficial or detrimental a food was.”
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