It’s hard to find a North American child who’s never tasted a hot dog.
Countless schools and households rely on them for quick and easy protein.
While hot dogs are generally accepted as a junk food item, they often get included in “healthy” recipes. Read on and you’ll never want to eat another hot dog again.
Do Hot Dogs Cause Cancer
The American Institute for Cancer Research has reported that processed meats such as sausages, corned beef, hot dogs, beef jerky, canned meat, meat-based preparations and sauces, turkey and chicken cold cuts and bacon can cause cancer (1).
After analyzing 7,000 scientific studies the AICR determined that every 50 gram serving of processed meat you consume daily (equivalent to just one hot dog) raises your risk for colorectal cancer by 21 percent (2).
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Carcinogenic chemicals in hot dogs include N-nitroso-compounds (NOC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
The prestigious scientific journal, Lancet Oncology, notes that “high-temperature cooking by pan-frying, grilling or barbecuing generally produces the highest amounts [of carcinogenic] chemicals,” including heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAA) and more PAH.
These chemicals also increase your risk of gastric, esophageal, nasopharyngeal and bladder cancer (3).
The World Health Organization has supported these claims with a study of their own, involving a review of 800 studies from around the globe (4).
Processed meats were also found to increase risk of childhood leukemia in children who ate 12 or more hot dogs per month and in children who’s fathers ate processed meats regularly before conception (5).
How Hot Dogs Are Made
Hot dogs begin as meat trimmings, or pieces of carcass left over after all the desirable cuts have been removed. These are boiled down and grinded up into a paste. Additives are then added to the mix to enhance flavor and increase shelf life.
To put it simply, meat trimming are the lowest quality pieces of meat that are typically used to make pet food and fertilizer.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines it as:”…lower-grade muscle trimmings, fatty tissues, head meat, animal feet, animal skin, blood, liver and other edible slaughter by-products.”(6)
Some hot dog brands use powdered milk, artificial food coloring and corn starch, but nearly all commercially-available non-organic products use high fructose corn syrup, sodium phosphate, sodium nitrate, MSG and smoke flavor to make their hot dogs more appealing to consumers (7).
Sodium Phosphate can cause serious kidney damage, kidney failure and, possibly, death (8).
Sodium Nitrate damages your blood vessels and heightens your risk of heart disease and diabetes (9).
Monosodium Glutamate is known to cause headache, numbness in the face, excess sweating, heart palpitations, chest pain and nausea is some individuals (10).
Smoke Flavour activates the highest levels of a well-known, cancer-linked gene called p53. Pyrogallol, also found in cigarette smoke was also found to cause DNA damage (11).
How To Enjoy Sausages Instead
If you’re not ready to give up your hot dog, just make these few changes to lower your exposure to the carcinogens and toxins mentioned above.
- Look for “uncured” varieties that contain no nitrates, coloring, flavor, fillers or preservatives.
- Choose varieties that say 100 percent beef, 100 percent chicken, etc. to avoid questionable meat products in your food.
- If you can, purchase homemade sausages from your local butcher or make your own.