Are you planning to have or go to a barbecue or a party to celebrate the fourth of July? If so, most likely you will meet “HOT DOGS”. Yes, we all have some level of understanding that they are not the best option of meat to eat, and yet, we serve them at almost every party, barbecue and of course, at our children’s’ birthday party. These options are threatening any control weight plan.

Are they good for you?

Even the so called ‘free nitrate’ hot dogs are processed meats that should try to avoid. These hot dogs are low in nutritional value, high in salt, and still high in nitrates. This is also true of any other processed meat such as deli meat, ham, sausage, bacon, and pepperoni.

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What is Nitrate?

Nitrates are compounds added to hot dogs which are cured during the cooking process to prevent the growth of botulism and to maintain the vibrant pinkish color of hot dogs (hot dog free of nitrates will look gray or brown –
which will be avoided by most of us).

Once digested, nitrates can form a new substance called nitrosamines, which has a proven link to cancer. Nitrosamines are carcinogens, meaning that when they are mixed with protein-rich foods like meats they can create cell damage in the body. To reduce this risk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires hot dog makers to add antioxidants, like vitamin C, to their products.

A 2005 study shows that eating one serving a day of processed meat like bacon, hot dogs and/or salami (3.5 ounces x 7 = 24.5 ounces per week) will increase the risk of colorectal and pancreatic cancers, heart disease and diabetes by 36% compared to those who do not eat processed meat.

A 2010 study supports this conclusion and is even more extreme by saying that even eating small amounts of processed meat (under 2 ounces a day) increases the risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease by 19-42%, respectively.

Don’t get confused, kosher hot dogs, turkey hot dogs, and chicken hot dogs are all processed meat that may carry these harmful substances.

For those meat lovers (including me), I would say – MODERATION!

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If you feel it’s a big challenge for you to avoid eating hot dogs, try to consume them in moderation. Also, upload yourself with more green leafy fresh salads so you can support your body to control weight and to the balance of salt and nitrates.