There are certain foods strongly linked to cancer; foods containing aspartame, refined sugar, trans-fats, and GMO’s. However, did you know that there is one particular food that has been so strongly linked to cancer, that the American Institute for Cancer Research has recommended that people cut their consumption to zero?
Unfortunately, this food is very popular. You see it for sale everywhere and your kids probably love them to no end. What food are we talking about? Hot dogs.
Although most people know that hot dogs aren’t exactly health food, but few know that they are downright deadly. Eating only one hot dog a day increases an adult’s risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent! Worse still, children who eat 12 hot dogs or more each month have an increased risk of developing leukemia.
Have you ever really looked at a hot dog label? Just some of the carcinogens found in hot dogs:
- Sodium nitrite
- Artificial flavors
- Sodium ascorbate
- Corn syrup (GMO product)
- Dextrose (sugar)
- Sodium diacetate
- Sodium phosphates
Once hot dogs are heated, the nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs come together with the amines to form a compound called nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.
You might have heard the old joke that hot dogs are made from the butts and lips of animals, but this isn’t really that far from the truth. Hot dogs start off as ground up animal remains including skin, fat, heads, feet, intestines, and other pieces.
Hot dogs that simply say “all meat” but don’t list a specific animal are even worse. They can contain bits and pieces from numerous meat sources, including pork, beef, chicken, or turkeys. This greatly increases your risk of getting contaminated meat. If the package says “Beef Franks” or “Turkey Franks” at least you know you are getting the meat from only one type of animal.
But this still doesn’t make them healthy. Even scientists at the American Cancer Society will tell you that a “high” consumption of hot dogs can greatly increase your risk of cancer but even eating just small amounts over a longer period of time increases your risk as well.
For every 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of processed meat (such as hot dogs) that you consume, your risk of developing cancer, such as colon or stomach cancer, increases by 15 to 20 percent.
Although the American Cancer Society doesn’t list specific consumption levels, the American Institute of Cancer Research does. They suggest that people avoid processed foods, such as hot dogs, at all costs.
Of course, eating a hot dog at a baseball game once or twice a year won’t kill you. It’s all about awareness. Long term consumption, such as eating hot dogs every weekend, every single summer and fall, will definitely increase your risk of developing cancer.
If you and/or your kids love hot dogs, you can at least make healthier choices. Look for hot dogs with a lower calorie, fat, and sodium content. Choose hot dogs that list only one animal, as we mentioned above. Whether you choose turkey or pork franks, it doesn’t matter. You can also look for hot dogs that say they come from free range animals or animals that were not given hormones or antibiotics.
Eating vegan or veggie hot dogs that are usually made from soy protein sound better but they also have their own health risks. Although veggie dogs have lower fat and calorie content, which means lower cholesterol levels, eating soy has been shown to have problems for women in the areas of fertility and reproductive health.
Speaking of healthier options, those plant based preservatives can be just as harmful. You can find a great many products that say they contain celery juice or beet juice preservatives but these also contain nitrates and nitrites. Whether they are plant based or animal based, nitrates and nitrites are cancer causing substances.
Although hot dogs do contain some protein and a few vitamins and minerals, overall, the risk of developing cancer is too high for any dog, let alone a hot dog.