A very common fast-food item, hot dogs, less commonly referred to as hotdogs, are foods composed of grilled or steamed sausages enclosed in a partially sliced bun.
The sausage itself can also be referred to as a hot dog. Typically, sausages used are either wieners (Viennese sausages) or frankfurters (Frankfurter Würstchen, also known simply as frank).
Hot dogs are usually served inside a bun together with condiments such as ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut.
This fast-food item is somewhat a global favourite and is widely consumed, however, it is safe to consume this food? Are hot dogs healthy?
1. It may increase your risk for cancer
Hot dogs contain preservatives called nitrites and nitrates, which are added to help extend shelf life and minimize bacterial growth. Moreover, it is nitrites that give hot dogs their characteristic red colour. It has been suggested that nitrites may have a link to cancer.
2. It can increase your risk for heart disease
The saturated fat content of processed meats is especially high and linked to heart disease. For example, a 6-inch hot dog contains approximately 150 calories, 13.5 grams of fat, and 5.3 grams of saturated fat. This is 26 per cent of the recommended daily maximum for saturated fats.
3. It may lead to high blood pressure
Although the human body requires only a small amount of sodium to function properly, too much sodium can have adverse health effects. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, sodium overconsumption can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which is a major cause of stroke and heart disease.
4. It can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes
Every hot dog you eat increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. People who eat the most processed meats have approximately a 20 to 30% higher risk of diabetes for every two-ounce serving of processed meats per day. That’s just one hot dog per day — hardly a remarkable amount.
Hot dogs are also high in nitrates and nitrites, two nitrosamine-forming compounds which can damage the pancreatic cells that make insulin. The type of saturated fat in hot dogs may also contribute to insulin resistance.
5. They contain questionable ingredients
People find very strange, gross, and even dangerous things inside their hot dogs on a pretty regular basis. And these incidents don’t always trigger national food recalls, or even make much of a news splash. Here’s a short list: rubber bands, silverfish, plastic, hair clumps, glass, razor blades, insects, buttons, and pills. There may also be other, unexpected animal parts used in the making of hot dogs. Pig snouts, animal organs, intestines, and skeletal muscle are apparently fair game.
6. It may cause allergic reactions
Hot dogs may contain ingredients that cause some people to have an allergic reaction. This, too, isn’t really surprising given that hot dogs contain a laundry list of ingredients. Many people are allergic to the types of meat trimmings used in hot dogs, food dyes like tartrazine, or additives like nitrates and nitrites.
7. It is usually served with other unhealthy foods
Most of us probably aren’t eating hot dogs on a heaping plate of raw kale with a side of mixed berries.
We like our hot dogs on a heavily processed, white bun. And we top them with condiments that contain high amounts of sugar, sodium, and potentially harmful food dyes. We’ll add even more saturated fat, sugar, and sodium to our plate in the form of sides like potato chips and sugary soft drink beverages.
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