Hot dogs are a popular food staple in many American households that are associated with good times. They’re commonly enjoyed at summer picnics, barbeques and the ballpark.
Whether you enjoy them boiled, grilled, or fried, hot dogs are affordable and convenient. These sausages are typically served on a bun and often topped with a wide array of condiments; such as mustard, ketchup, relish, sour kraut, peppers, onions and more. Hot dogs can also be topped with chili and cheese to make chili dogs. Some people throw cut up wieners into recipes, such as baked beans, omelettes, rice dishes, and casseroles.
You may be wondering, are all hot dogs made alike? The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service claims that hot dogs can be made from beef, pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of these meats. But that’s not all they contain…
In this article, we’ll investigate what goes into making hot dogs and their health risks. Keep reading to find out why some types of hot dogs are healthier than others and which types you should avoid. After all, knowing exactly what you’re eating is vital to staying healthy and living your best life!
Are Hot Dogs Keto Friendly?
Cured meats such as hot dogs, sausages, deli meat, pepperoni, salami and bacon are acceptable foods for the Keto diet. However, always check their ingredients first to make sure no grains or starches are added to the hot dogs as fillers.
Consuming buns or bread with your hot dogs, however, could cause you to exceed your daily carb limit and ultimately throw your body out of ketosis. So if you’re following a strict low carb diet, like Keto, skip the bun.
Certain condiments, such as ketchup and sweet relish can also impact your overall carb count, so be wary when dressing your dogs. Instead, squirt some mustard on your dogs, as it is a carb-free condiment.
Furthermore, the fat and sodium content in hot dogs may offer an additional benefit to Keto dieters. General guidelines stipulate 60-75% of your food should be from fat, with the intention to force the body to run on fat, as opposed to glycogen. Salt helps the body hold onto water to avoid dehydration, a common symptom of the Keto flu.
How Many Carbs are in Hot Dogs?
One 52-gram hot dog contains 2.2 grams of carbs. Adding a bun increases the carb count by a whopping 24 grams, so be sure to skip the bun. Add to a tablespoon of tomato ketchup to your hot dog and the carb count increases by another 5 grams.
How Many Calories are in Hot Dogs?
One 52-gram hot dog contains 151 calories. Adding a bun increases the calorie count by an additional 100-150 calories. You will also need to account for the calories in the condiments you add to your hot dog.
|Amount: 1 Hot Dog (52 grams)|
|Total Fat 13 grams||20%|
|Saturated fat 4 grams||20%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 2.3 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 6 grams|
|Cholesterol 40 milligrams||13%|
|Sodium 566.8 milligrams||23%|
|Potassium 79 milligrams||2%|
|Total Carbohydrate 2.2 grams||0%|
|Dietary fiber 0 grams||0%|
|Protein 5 grams||10%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||0%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||5%|
Hot dogs are made up of the parts of the animal that are left over once the choice cuts are removed. What remains are parts such as pig snouts, animal organs, intestines, and skeletal muscle – all of which go into making hot dogs. These trimmings are then ground up, mixed with harmful ingredients like corn syrup, sorbitol, salt, food starch, and liquid smoke.
A 1.5-ounce beef hot dog also contains more than 10% of the daily value of phosphorus, selenium and zinc. These nutrients are more “bioavailable” in meats, meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body, than if you were getting these same minerals from plant foods.
High in Protein
Hot dogs are a good source of protein. Protein is essential for growth and development, and it also supplies energy. According to the Mayo Clinic, between 10 and 35% of your daily calories should come from protein sources.
Trace Amounts of Iron
Another upside of hot dogs is that they contain a small amount of iron. A diet that provides adequate amounts of iron helps boost your immunity and circulation.
While the meat used to make hot dogs supplies some vitamins and minerals, the other ingredients that go into making hot dogs make them harmful to your health.
High in Saturated Fat
Hot dogs are much too high in saturated fat. The Mayo Clinic reports that eating large amounts of saturated fat may cause you to be at a heightened risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Linked with Heart Disease
A 2014 study published in Public Health Nutrition reviewed the dose-response relationship between eating processed red meat and the risk of dying from heart disease. It was determined that the more processed red meat people ate, the more likely they were to die from heart disease.
Too High in Sodium
A typical hot dog can contain between one-quarter and one-third of the 2,300 milligrams of sodium recommended for an entire day. A diet high in sodium poses a higher risk of stroke, kidney problems and high blood pressure.
Contains Cancer-causing Nitrates
Sodium nitrate is added as a preservative to hot dogs. Sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, and any number of other chemicals are often included in the making of hot dogs.
Nitrates have been linked to cancer, particularly childhood cancer. The Cancer Prevention Coalition notes that children who eat 12 or more hot dogs a month are at an increased risk of developing leukemia by 9 times.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meats, like hot dogs, as carcinogens. Group 1 carcinogens are a category of substances that have the strongest evidence of being cancer-causing in people. Hot dogs fall into this category, along with tobacco and asbestos.
Hot dogs have been recalled for a variety of reasons related to contamination. These recalls are often due to contamination of Listeria, bone fragments, and even metal shards.
Many people are allergic to the food dyes used in hot dogs, such as tartrazine, or additives like nitrates and nitrites.
Do Healthy Hot Dogs Exist?
Except for providing some protein and trace amounts of minerals, traditional hot dogs have no real health benefits. In fact, they should probably be sold with warning labels. But the good news is that there are plenty of healthier alternatives out there for hot dog lovers that pass as the real thing.
To avoid hot dogs made from meat by-products like the trimmings of various animals, opt for hot dogs that boast “100% chicken” or “100% beef.” Chicken wieners and turkey dogs are usually lower in saturated fat.
Look for sodium-reduced brands of hot dogs. Some brands of hot dogs do not contain nitrates, so they make a healthier option.
You can easily find veggie hot dogs at most stores today. Many varieties use peas or soy as their main source of protein instead of meat trimmings.
Are Hot Dogs Safe for Diabetics?
People who eat processed meats like hot dogs are at a significantly higher risk of diabetes because the type of saturated fat they contain may lead to insulin resistance.
Hot dogs are also high in nitrates, compounds that damage the pancreatic cells that produce and regulate insulin.