Individual Dietary Choices of Your Life

Individual Dietary Choices of Your Life

Individual Dietary Choices of Your Life

Wednesday, 29 September 2021
Written by Dr. Stephen Barrie

Individual Dietary Choices Can Add – Or Take Away – Minutes, Hours, and Years of Your Life

Many of us are learning the importance of healthy food choices – be it adding more vegetables and fruits to our diets, lowering consumption of meat, eating more healthy fats (olive oil and avocados), and lessening our intake of processed foods.

But daily, it’s hard to know how much individual choices will affect our lives and health.

According to a recently published study, eating a hot dog could lost you 36 minutes of a healthy life, while choosing to eat a serving of nuts instead could help you gain 26 minutes of an extra healthy life.

Think about that for a minute (if you’ve eaten a hot dog or equivalent, you have 36 minutes less time to think about it) – certain foods shorten your life by a significant amount. Other foods will increase your life span! Do you have to drastically change your dietary habits to improve your health and live longer? No, you don’t.

What will you choose?
Substituting 10% of your daily caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and select seafood could reduce your dietary carbon footprint by one-third and you to gain 48 minutes of healthy minutes per day.

Chose to make this change right now, and some simple math shows you that you will have added 292 hours or 12 extra days to your life in just one year. Twelve additional days! Magic.

Based on their findings, the researchers suggest:
  • Decreasing foods with the most harmful 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: Austin Thomason/Michigan Photography and University of Michigan, CC BY-ND

The researchers calculated this “Health Index” for more than 5,800 foods.
Here is a summary by food group:(Minutes lost or gained per day per serving)

The research shows that minor, targeted food substitutions provide a feasible and robust strategy to achieve significant health benefits without requiring dietary shifts at once.

The choice is yours – Eat to Live Healthy and Longer Or Eat to Get Sick and Die Younger.

Jampa and Tri Vananda provide healthy food choices and education.