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Diet Behavior Demographics & Statistics Environment

That Hot Dog Could Cost You 36 Minutes Of Healthy Life

8 months ago

5499  0
Posted on Oct 23, 2023, 3 p.m.

The hotdog market is more than a foot long. Hotdogs are a barbecue favorite, and according to NHDSC Consumption Stats, Americans spent over $8.3 billion on hotdogs and sausage in supermarkets alone, that’s not even including what is bought at sporting events, food carts, carnivals, fairs, corner stores, cafeterias, concession stands, airports, and canteen trucks. 

In 2022, the top 10 hotdog-loving cities were: Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, and Phoenix. The top 10 sausage-eating cities were: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, DC, Phoenix, and Atlanta. 

Not surprisingly most of the top ten are at cities with major ballparks, within the United States cities with MLB teams sold over 19.4 million hotdogs in the 2020 season alone. Hotdog sales are popular across the nation, but according to 2022 sales data, New Yorkers spend the most money on hotdogs in retail stores, reaching $111.2 million, followed by residents of Los Angeles spending $95.9 million. Hot dogs appear to be more popular in the summer months, with an average of 38% of the total number of hot dogs being sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 10% of the annual sales happen in July which is designated as National Hot Dog Month.

In 2022, an excess of $5.3 billion was spent on dinner sausages and $2 billion was spent on breakfast sausages. New Yorkers spent $181.9 million on dinner sausages, Los Angeles residents spent $163.6 million and people living in Chicago spent $131.5 million. Sausages also do well at ballparks. Consumption appears to vary by season, with dinner sausages reaching a peak in summer months while breakfast sausages peak from November through January. 

It is clear that people love their hotdogs and sausages, according to recent research from the University of Michigan published in the journal Nature Food, eating that hotdog could cost you 36 minutes of a healthy life, alternatively snacking on a serving of nuts could help you gain 26 minutes of healthy life. 

“Generally, dietary recommendations lack specific and actionable direction to motivate people to change their behavior, and rarely do dietary recommendations address environmental impacts,” says SFSI affiliate Katerina Stylianou, who did the research as a doctoral candidate and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at U-M’s School of Public Health. She currently works as the director of public health information and data strategy at the Detroit Health Department.

For this study, researchers evaluated over 5,800 foods and ranked them by their nutritional disease burden to humans as well as their impact on the environment. They reported that substituting just 10% of caloric intake from beef and processed meats for a mix of nuts, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and select kinds of seafood could reduce dietary carbon footprint by one-third and allow people to benefit from 48 healthy minutes per day.

This work was based on the Health Nutritional Index (HENI) which calculates the net beneficial or detrimental health burden in minutes of healthy life associated with a serving of food. HENI used 15 dietary risk factors and estimated from GBD and combined them with the nutritional food profiles in the What We Eat in American Database. The index is an adaptation of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) in which disease mortality and morbidity are associated with a single food choice of an individual. The environmental impact was evaluated using the IMPACT World+ method, to develop scores for 18 factors taking into account various factors. 

“Previous studies have often reduced their findings to a plant vs. animal-based foods discussion,” Stylianou says. “Although we find that plant-based foods generally perform better, there are considerable variations within both plant-based and animal-based foods.”

Based on their findings the researchers recommend decreasing the amount of foods we eat with the most negative health and environmental impacts such as highly processed meats and increasing the most nutritionally beneficial foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and low environmental impact seafoods. 

“The urgency of dietary changes to improve human health and the environment is clear,” says Olivier Jolliet, senior author of the paper and professor of environmental health sciences at U-M’s School of Public Health. “Our findings demonstrate that small targeted substitutions offer a feasible and powerful strategy to achieve significant health and environmental benefits without requiring dramatic dietary shifts.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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