Like most people you probably enjoy a nice hot dog every now and then, but do you have any idea what is in them? Hot dogs appear to be the perfect snack. They are quick and easy, inexpensive, filling and most of all they are very tasty. But do hot dogs have any nutritional value?
Hot dogs are a type of smoked sausage that are made out of byproducts or so-called variety meats. Variety meats is a term that refers to things like livers, hearts and kidneys. Thus, when you are eating a hot dog that means that you are eating beef or pork leftovers. Some hot dogs even contain mechanically separated meats, which is a fancy term for a meat product derived from forcing bones with attached edible meat through a sieve to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue. Imagine what kind of other stuff they might grind with it that you are not aware of.
The main ingredient in hot dogs that is bad for you is the chemical that is used to preserve the hot dog, which is called sodium nitrate. Research has shown that eating a lot of sodium nitrate can be very bad for your health. It has especially been linked to low blood pressure, as well as an increased risk for certain types of cancer and the development of brain tumors. Luckily, these days you can also buy hot dogs that are nitrate free. They taste exactly the same, only they have a slightly darker color.
Besides sodium nitrate, hot dogs also contain a lot of fat. Eating too much fat is not only bad for your health, it will also make you gain weight. One average hot dog without the bun or any condiments or toppings contains about 260 calories. They do offer a whole range of low fat or even fat free hot dogs, but they usually do not taste very good. The same is the case with things like low fat potato chips or low fat ice cream. The idea behind it is great, but it does not really work. Some people choose to switch to chicken or turkey hot dogs instead, but they really contain just as much fat as the regular pork or beef ones.
Another thing about hot dogs that makes it such a bad snack is all the condiments and toppings we put on it. Mustard or ketchup is not that unhealthy or calorie rich, but just as with most things, they are not really good for you either, especially when eaten in large amounts. In sum, if you want to live a healthy life, be sure to stay away from hot dogs, or only have them occasionally. When you do decide to have a hot dog, make sure it is of the sodium nitrate free variety.