Did you ever have mac and cheese with cut up hot dogs for lunch as a kid? I know I sure did. But before you think about feeding your own kids this meal, you need to learn a thing or two about the health impacts of hot dogs.
Hot dogs are controversial because most people aren’t really sure of what’s in them. But they’re cheap and easy to cook, so what could be so bad?
According to one study, children who eat more than 12 hot dogs a month have a 9 times higher risk of developing childhood leukemia. Other reports say that children who are born to mothers who eat at least one hot dog a week during pregnancy double their risk of getting brain tumors at some point in life.
Hot dogs contain nitrates, which are an additive. Nitrates serve to combat botulism, a deadly disease. During cooking, processed nitrates combine with amines naturally in the meat and form a cancer-causing compound in the meat called N-nitroso. This compound worsens the chance that you’ll get cancer of the mouth, bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain.
So here are our healthy hot dog tips:
- Don’t buy hot dogs that contain nitrates
- Don’t let your children consume many hot dogs, even nitrate free ones.
- If your local grocer doesn’t carry it, request that they begin carrying nitrate-free hot dogs only.
- Write the FDA a letter and express your concern about nitrates in hot dogs.
- Contact your local school board and find out if they serve nitrate hot dogs in the cafe. If they do, request they stop.
Image credit: rob_rob2001 Flickr