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Monday, 30 June 2014 11:00

What's In That Hot Dog?

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Estimates for American hot dog consumption are roughly 150 million or more for a Fourth of July holiday. If you were to line up that many franks it would literally would stretch from sea to shining sea — several times.

Not only are those hot dogs high in fat (3 servings worth for just one hot dog) and not on your CMWM program, they are just not good for you! And they are only equal to about a single ounce of protein packing in at least 150 calories or more. The USDA cites the ingredients typically found in our great American hot dog below. Here is just a sampling of a few ingredients:

Mechanically separated turkey dogs:
The USDA describes it like this: "...paste-like and batter-like poultry product [is] produced by forcing bones, with attached edible tissue, through a sieve or under high pressure." Unlike other mechanically separated beef or pork, it can be present in hot dogs in "any amount."
Corn syrup:
This is basically pure sugar that has probably has been genetically modified. Why do we need added sugar to our protein?
Salt:
Although sodium is actually a needed mineral many hot dogs contain about 480 milligrams. That's about 20% of the RDA - in just one hot dog alone. A person only REQUIRES that amount for bodily functions! It is used for flavor and as a food preservative.
Sodium phosphates:
And here's even more salt... it is any one of the three sodium salts of phosphoric acids that can be used as a food preservative or to add texture.
Sodium diacetate:
And yet another form of salt... This is a combination of sodium acetate and acetic acid, it helps to fight fungus and bacterial growth and is often used as an artificial flavor for salt and vinegar chips. When it's in the sodium acetate form, it's found in instant hand warmers!
Sodium erythorbate:
This is a sodium salt of erythorbic acid, it has replaced the use of sulfites in many foods and serves as a preservative and to help keep meat-based products pink. Some people report side effects, including dizziness, gastrointestinal issues, headaches and, if consumed in large quantities, even kidney stones.
Maltodextrin:
A compound made from cooked starch, most often from corn, and again one of the most genetically modified foods in the US. It is used as a filler or thickening agent in processed foods. Brewers also often use it in beer.
Sodium nitrate:
This common preservative helps meats retain color and also keeps food borne illnesses, such as botulism, to a minimum. The real down side is nitrates have been highly associated with an increased risk of cancer and asthma. This ingredient is also frequently found in fertilizers and, yes, even our 4th of July fireworks!

If you have to have a hot dog go for some Smart Dogs (vegetarian) or The Hebrew National low fat hot dogs. Or ideally stick to some nicely seasoned lean meat or chicken for the 4th.

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