A Hot Dog is Made of What?!?!

Do you know what’s in a hot dog? I always thought a hot dog was a combination of different things but I didn’t think it included bone, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage, and skin among other things. And what is “mechanically separated chicken?” If you are thinking of grilling a hot dog this football season, you may want to consider a plant-based alternative for a host of reasons.

I was at a football game Thursday night and saw a plethora of hot dogs being carried around before devouring them. I was never a huge fan of hot dogs but occasionally at a baseball game I would get one wrapped in foil. When I went plant-based and understood what I was putting in my body it wasn’t a surprise to me on how unhealthy they were and the needle certainly went up on how disgusting the ingredients were.

When I looked at a popular brand of hot dogs online I found:

  • Mechanically Separated Chicken
  • Pork
  • Corn Syrup
  • Potassium Lactate (potassium salt of lactic acid)
  • Variety of salt/sodiums

What the heck is ‘Mechanically Separated Chicken?’ The USDA states, “Mechanically separated meat is 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.”

That sounds great right? I guess the bone gets mixed in there as part of the process. That process of making the hot dogs into a ‘paste-like and batter-like meat’ looks like some of the poops I’ve had during a run… Take a look at the process in this video.

It gets more interesting as Dr. Michael Greger shares these interesting highlights in his video, What Is Really in Hot Dogs? & How Much Cancer Does Processed Meat Cause?

  • The amount of meat (skeletal muscle) in most brands comprised less than 10% of the cross-sectional surface area
  • Inclusion of bones, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage and skin
  • Calories, Fat, Saturated Fat, Calories from Fat, and Cholesterol many times over comparing a beef hot dog to a veggie dog
  • Consumption of processed meat (including hot dogs) is carcinogenic to humans (Group 1)

As defined by the World Health Organization, Group 2A is defined as – Probably carcinogenic to humans. Group 1 is defined as – Carcinogenic to humans. So as defined there is no, probably, it is carcinogenic to humans and in the same category as smoking, asbestos, and more.

We have choices however. There is the option full of ingredients that make you shake your head, clog arteries, add fat and cause cancer or there are now veggie options…woah, there are alternatives!

My favorite hot dog is from Nah Dogs, the vegan hot dog cart in Tampa Bay. Check out Jeff & Jenny Howe (owners) when you can with several varieties to choose from…fantastic! I haven’t bought any to make at home as when I’m going to have one, I search out Nah Dogs, but there are several options to choose from when you search and this blog, The Best Vegan Hot Dogs That Taste As Good As the Real Thing, from The Beet earlier this year may have some ideas for you. You will find ingredients including Soy Protein and Pea Protein as the alternative to the processed or mechanically separated meats in the poor version of hot dogs. Let me know if you have found any you like.

– Add Health to Your Life

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