Does Eating A Hot Dog Really Take 36 Minutes Off Of Your Life?

Hot dogs have been an American staple for, well what feels like, forever. CNN reports that the hot dog has become an "American icon" and Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, told CNN that "Americans eat an estimated 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day." That is an awful lot of people eating a tremendous amount of frankfurters. And in light of some new information, which suggests that eating just one hot dog can take minutes off of your life, people are concerned.

Yes, it's true, according to an August 2021 study published by the University of Michigan School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. They suggest that eating just a single hot dog can take as many as 36 minutes off your lifespan (via New York Post). The small study in the Nature Food Journal suggests that there are foods (like hot dogs) that can take healthy minutes off your life, while other foods (like nuts) can add healthy minutes to your life.    

There are foods that can add and take away healthy minutes to your life

The study in question reports that certain foods, per serving, can take away up to 74 minutes of a person's life or add up to 80 minutes to a person's life. High-sugar beverages, breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs were associated with the most minutes lost (via New York Post).

Eat This, Not that explained that the study divided the results into three colors, like that of a traffic light: red, yellow, and green. The foods placed in the red category were those found to take away the most healthy time of life, and the authors of the study suggest avoiding these foods altogether. Among these foods are servings of beef, pork, and processed meats (think: hot dogs). Foods like baked salmon, however, are placed in the green category and can offer you an additional 16 healthy minutes of life per serving (via Daily Mail).

The study also reviewed the carbon footprint of the foods, production to consumption to waste, and found that the foods placed in the green category, including field-grown vegetables, fruits, and legumes, held very low negative environmental impact (via Daily Mail).