Researchers released a nutritional index aiming to inform guidelines and help Americans achieve healthier diets. According to Fox, food was ranked by minutes gained or lost off healthy life per serving with processed meats and sugary drinks among the biggest offenders.
Finding included over 5,000 foods in the U.S. diet classified by health burden and environmental impacts. The foods ranged from 74 minutes lost to 80 minutes gained per serving. Sugary drinks, hotdogs, burgers, and breakfast sandwiches contributed to the most minutes of healthy life lost, whereas fruits, non-starchy and mixed vegetables, ready-to-eat cereals and cooked grains contributed to the largest gains.
Sodium and harmful trans fatty acids in foods like chicken wings translated to 3.3 minutes lost of life. Beef hotdogs on an bun resulted in some 36 minutes lost due to the detrimental effect of processed meat. While peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were associated with a positive increase of 33 minutes added. Salted peanuts, baked salmon, and rice with beans was associated with a positive gain between 10-15 minutes.
Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health Department and Environmental Health Sciences also classified foods by nutritional and environmental impact. Environmentally sustainable foods included nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and some seafood. Whereas foods with poor nutritional value and production linked to high environmental impacts like greenhouse gas emissions. These foods included beef, processed meat, pork, lamb, cheese-based foods, and certain salmon dishes.
They found that swapping 10% of daily caloric consumption from beef and processed meat for fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and certain seafood could reap health benefits with a gain of 48 minutes per person per day and a 33% smaller dietary carbon footprint.