Did you know that approximately 20 billion Americans consume hot dogs annually? According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, this translates to about 70 hot dogs per person per year. Before you start asking what’s wrong with hot dogs, you need to understand all the facts about hot dogs: a hot dog is classified as “pre-cooked meat product”. In other words, this means the meat product contains fatty tissues, blood, liver, animal skin, animal feet, and other edible slaughter by-products. So, the next time you go out and think about eating hot dogs, you might want to reconsider.

Facts About Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are made of a paste-like meat product derived from body parts that, normally, you wouldn’t even look at such as pig snouts, cow lips, and other not so pleasing meat products. The liquid meat then undergoes several treatments and flavoring to give it that appealing pink appearance that we see in food stores.

Once the ingredients are mixed and stripped of all the meat-like qualities, they form what is called meat emulsion. The final stage involves vacuuming the meat emulsion to remove air bubbles and then injecting it into the casings. The casings come from cleaned small intestines of pigs and sheep.

The World Health Organization now classifies hot dogs and other highly processed meats as carcinogenic. To make matters worse, most of the meat and meat by-products used in hot dogs and other processed meats come from CAFOs, confined animal feeding operations, where animals are tortured in unhealthy, crowded, and cruel conditions. Manufacturer’s main goal is cheap meat, not quality meat.

Hot Dogs Health Risks Cancer and Diabetes

In one research, they analyze the diet of 1,660 people who consumed plenty of processed meat. Results showed that the risk of getting bladder cancer among the subjects was significantly higher. Another study established that people who regularly consume processed meat can develop type 2 diabetes easier. Several studies have shown that regularly they can cause stomach, breast and lung cancer.

They Contain Too Much Salt

Any extra amount of sodium you take is not healthy for your general health. Hot dogs contain loads of sodium which act as preservatives. Sodium Nitrite is a common preservative in fish and meat industries. Most processed meats have added coloring and sodium nitrite helps to preserve this color and prevents the growth of botulism-causing bacteria. When sodium nitrite gets to your stomach, it reacts with stomach acids and other chemicals to form nitrosamines which can cause cancer.

Foreign Materials

If finding a piece of bone when chewing away on your hot dog surprises you, what about finding a piece of metal, hair or other unhealthy foreign materials that are not fit for human consumption? To prove just how unhealthy and risky hot dogs are, a major hot dog brand, Sabret, was recalled after it was discovered that the hot dogs were contaminated with bone fragments that caused injuries to several people.

Risky for Pregnant Women

Research on hot dogs points out that they contain Listeria monocytogenes which cause gastrointestinal pain and flu-like symptoms. Those with a weak immune system such as the elderly, pregnant women, and children are more vulnerable to listeria, and consuming hot dogs puts this group at greater risk. In pregnant women, listeria may lead to miscarriages, premature delivery, or infection in the fetus.


The high amounts of fat in hot dogs is a recipe for weight gain and other health problems such as raised cholesterol levels and the buildup of plaque in the arteries. When your arteries are blocked, the risk of cardiovascular diseases is high.

They Contain MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG is a neurotoxic chemical that can cause various health conditions such as obesity, migraines, and reproductive disorders. For the health conscious, it’s always fine to avoid foods that contain MSG, high salt content, preservatives, artificial flavoring, and artificial colors.

Final Words

Considering the several hot dogs recalls recently, there is a big health concern with your favorite meal. The processing method and ill-treated animals are enough to put you off . Opt for real meat instead. Organic meats contain the least amount of chemicals and contamination because farmers can’t use antibiotics or any other chemicals. In this era of processed foods, it’s important to read labels and make healthy choices about what you eat. We hope these facts about hot dogs will help you opt for healthier meat options.

All images by Pixabay


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