Culinary no-no #708


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A craving.

Had one a week or two ago.

Grilled hot dogs. But not just plain hot dogs.

Jennifer went over to the nearby Sendik’s and made a purchase, one that I could slather all over those doggies. Delish. Last time I devoured such a combo I believe Reagan was still in the White House.

If you read the bonus section in last week’s Culinary no-no you know that evening mentioning chili in the summer is taboo to some. I say baloney!

Two chili dogs.  All beef. Sendik’s award-winning chili. What could possibly go wrong?

Just the fact that I’m slowly killing myself prematurely.

Researchers at the University of Michigan evaluated more than 5,800 foods, ranking them by their nutritional disease burden to humans and their impact on the environment.

One of their many findings: eating a hot dog shortens your life by 36 minutes. On the contrary a peanut butter and jelly sandwich adds 33 minutes to your life. That hardly seems fair.

My chili dogs just shaved 1 hour and 12 minutes off my lifespan.

I’m guessing that conservatively I put away about 20 hots dogs a year. That amounts to 12 hours I fritter away.

And what about brats, Italian sausages, chorizo? How much damage are those babies doing to the longs days in my short life?

Lots of mumbo jumbo in a publication from the University of Michigan. Here’s a sample you don’t need multiple degrees to comprehend.

The health burden attributable to a serving of beef hotdog on a bun is 36 min lost, largely due to the detrimental effect of processed meat. For vegetable pizza (1.4 min lost per serving) and apple pie (1.3 min gained per serving), the health benefits from some vegetables and fruits are offset by the detrimental health effects of sodium and TFAs (Trans Fatty Acids). The beneficial health effects of seafood-sourced omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and legumes are highlighted in the cases of baked salmon, salted peanuts, and rice with beans.

Minutes of healthy life gained or lost for all US foods

We estimated the HENI (HEalth Nutritional Index) scores per standard serving for 5,853 foods consumed in the US diet. Median HENI scores by food category range from 35 min lost per serving of frankfurter sandwiches) up to 33 min gained per serving of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

However, estimates can be as low as 71 min lost per serving for corned beef with tomato sauce and onion. The damaging effects of processed meat overpower the benefit of the small amounts of tomatoes and onions in that food. Interestingly, our results offer unambiguous and generalizable inferences for only a few food categories. HENI scores for frankfurter and breakfast sandwiches, burgers and red meat are almost exclusively negative, indicating that eating an additional serving of these foods is health-damaging. On the other hand, increasing the consumption of nuts and of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (driven by nut content), legumes, seafood, fruits, snack bars, ready-to-eat cereals and non-starchy vegetables is health beneficial as most of these foods have positive HENI scores.

So, in a nutshell, beef, processed meat, pork, lamb, cheese and sugar-based drinks cause the most healthy minutes lost, while nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide the most healthy minutes gained.

Hey Jennifer, next time at Sendik’s, pick up some Jif and Smucker’s.


This Culinary no-no I wholeheartedly support!

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2 thoughts on “Culinary no-no #708

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no #709 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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