Eating a hot dog can take 36 minutes off your life, study suggests

ByWill Ganss ABCNews logo
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Eating a hot dog can take 36 minutes off your life, study suggests
Yes, we did the math. Joey Chestnut's life is almost a month shorter with his competition hot dog consumption alone, based on the research.

Life tastes pretty good any time a hot dog is involved, but could those hot dogs actually be shortening your life? A new study suggests it's possible.

New research from the University of Michigan suggests that eating one hot dog takes 36 minutes off your life.

The study evaluated more than 5,800 foods, ranking them by their nutritional disease burden to humans.

A beef hot dog on a bun resulted in 36 minutes lost, "largely due to the detrimental effect of processed meat," the study found.

If that headline stresses you out, imagine what competitive eating legend Joey Chestnut thinks.

"Does he need to be worried that all of these hot dogs are just taking years and years off of his life?" ABC News' Will Ganss asked registered dietician Christy Brissette.

"I think if you're eating hot dogs in a Joey-type of way, this could be a turning point in your life to maybe cut back a little bit," Brissette said. "If you enjoy a hot dog once in awhile, completely fine. Everybody wants to have fun foods in their life, and that's part of enjoying eating."

In competition alone, Joey has eaten at least 1,094 hot dogs, adding up to 39,384 minutes off of his life, or a little more than 27 days.

RELATED: Heinz 'Hot Dog Pact' campaign calls for equal packaging: Will you sign?

Heinz is asking people to sign an online petition to get hot dog makers on the same page as bun makers and match up packaging sizes.

Joey poked fun at the study, tweeting, "Interesting, I might need to eat more nuts to get time back."

The competitive eating champ has a point there. The same study suggests that eating foods like salted peanuts, baked salmon and rice with beans are equivalent to adding between 10 and 15 minutes back onto your life.

Interestingly, the study also found that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were associated with an added 33 minutes of healthy, happy living.

Brissette says it's helpful to have actionable, digestible numbers to help us in our health journey, but there are really only two to keep in mind.

"Focus on the numbers 80-20 when you're thinking about your diet. Eighty percent of the time, try to go for some of those more nutritious foods that will help to extend your life," Brissette said. "And then 20% of the time go it's OK to go for some of those, maybe less nutritious but fun foods, like a hot dog once in a while."

The bottom line is, if you're stressing about every single bite of food that you put into your body, stress will take serious time off of your life too.