Fast food

How long will you live? Hmm, maybe you would prefer not to know. While there are many medical claims on how to prolong our lives, there also seems to be “predictions” on how to shave of a few minutes here or there by simply eating. 

Mischief or medicine? Can we rely on a health strategy that tells us eating one beef hot dog lops off 36 minutes off our lifespan? Please say it’s not true.

A new study from the University of Michigan School of Public health ranked foods based on how many minutes you might gain or lose off your healthy life by eating certain them. Hot dogs, in particular, are robbing us of 36 minutes! That’s if you believe that a grilled wiener on a bun, with all the fixings, can be detrimental due to “processed ingredients” that we are risking a shorter lifespan by eating! Sure, no one would consider a hot dog a “health food,” but come on, why spoil a good old treat at a ballgame or barbecue? 

Hey, Joey Chestnut, not sure how to break the news to you, but you are a dead man walking! Yes, Mr. Chestnut is the world record holder because he can eat 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes! Should we accept the premise that competitive eating is a sport? If so, Joey Chestnut should be in the Olympics. 

This 37-year-old man is a true champion, with the annual competition usually held to a packed crowd in Coney Island at a baseball field. A celebrity eater? Last contest, he was introduced by a Major League Baseball announcer, proclaiming to the cheering crowd that “the roar of Chestnut’s assault will sunder the dome of heaven to reach the ear of God himself.” 

Hey, champ, those 76 hotdogs could take 45 hours off your life! Stop it. You might get to that “dome of heaven” sooner than you’d like.

OK, so many of us don’t eat hot dogs. But now the research claims that chicken wings and sugary beverages can also wipe a minute or two off of our lifespan. Why worry? A few enjoyable treats might not be so bad in the big scheme of things. 

We could, of course, start eating more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, because they have the amazing effect of adding about 33 minutes onto our life. I am not good at math, but I do know how to use a calculator. So maybe the “formula” for longevity is how to add and subtract minutes, based on what you eat. 

Have an urge for a hot dog on the grill? Go for it! Just be sure to back it up with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and you are back in the “neutral” zone. 

The research looked at 5,800 foods and ranked them by their “nutritional disease burden.” Eat fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes and seafood and you can add about an hour a day to your lifespan. The even better news is that one slice of apple pie can add one delicious minute onto your life. Let’s get healthy, 1 minute (slice) at a time.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at judy@judybluhm.com.