Thursday, July 30, 2009

What's in Your Hot Dog?

Have you ever wondered just what's in a hot dog? Should you be eating hot dogs or letting your kids eat them?

Maybe you think the all beef or all meat hot dogs are a good bet. Although they are higher in protein, beef and pork hot dogs are very high in unhealthy saturated fats, plus the meat comes, not from fresh cuts of beef and pork, but from pig and cow skeletons and meat by-products, which could be any part of the animal. Definitely not ground beef quality!

If your label says, "made with a variety of meats" this could also mean the hot dog is made from the liver, kidney and hearts of animals, which are very high in cholesterol. The liver filters wastes in the body of humans and animals so if the animals ate feed with pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, these would be in the meat of the liver also.

Hot dogs can contain up to 20% mechanically separated meats (MSM). These separated meats are "a paste-like and batter-like meat product produced by forcing bones, with attached edible meat, under high pressure through a sieve or similar device to separate the bone from the edible meat tissue," according to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

As of 2004, hot dogs can contain no mechanically separated beef because of fears of mad cow disease. However, hot dogs can contain up to 20% mechanically separated pork, and any amount of mechanically separated chicken or turkey.

Hot dogs also contain sodium nitrate to preserve the red tint to cured meat. This has been linked to increase cancer risk and can also trigger migraine headaches.

MSG is added to hot dogs to enhance flavor and many people have adverse reactions to MSG, which the body sees as a toxic substance. Reactions such as headaches are common, without the person even being aware that MSG is the problem.

Hot Dogs contain corn syrup as a thickener and to add sweetness. Corn syrup contains no nutrients but lots of empty calories.

If you and your kids love hot dogs, look for nitrate-free, all meat and preferably organic hot dogs which contain no preservatives, by-products or fillers. These are more expensive options but will save health problems down the road for you and your family.

No comments: