Are Hot Dogs as Bad as Cigarettes?

By Michael d’Estries, Mother Nature Network

We all know the damage that cigarettes can cause to our health, but should hot dogs be given the same cold shoulder? According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit that advocates for a plant-based diet and preventative medicine, that answer is yes — and this is but one of many processed foods that are slowly killing us.

The group released a billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway featuring several hot dogs in a cigarette box with a skull and crossbones on the front. It reads: “Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health,” and is meant to make race fans think twice about eating the popular food.

An estimated 62 percent of Americans eat some form of processed pork, with the average person eating 32 pounds a year!

“A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave,” says PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin, M.S., R.D. “Processed meats like hot dogs can increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and various types of cancer. Like cigarettes, hot dogs should come with a warning label that helps racing fans and other consumers understand the health risk.”

While some might chalk this up as a publicity stunt by a pro-vegetarian group, the science linking processed meats to an increase in cancer risk is rather convincing. A 2007 study using data from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund found that consuming just 50 grams of processed meat (think one hot dog) daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent.

It gets worse. As MNN blogger Chanie Kirschner recently pointed out, a 2005 study at the University of Hawaii linked consumption of processed meats to a 67 percent increase in the risk for pancreatic cancer. Researchers, however, were quick to point out that the link may have more to do with the way the processed meats are prepared, rather than their contents.

Either way, moderation should be the overarching theme of any healthy diet. If you’re one of those Americans averaging over 32 pounds of processed pork annually, consider cutting back or eliminating that habit altogether. If you’re at the ballpark or other sports venue, also try and seek out some kind of healthier alternative — like a black bean burger or fresh salad.

What do you think? Will you be cutting back on your summer hot dog eating?

Related:
Did American Always Love Hot Dogs? Not Really
Scary Food Science
7 Dangerous Food Additives to Avoid

238 comments

John W.
.6 months ago

😯 I love hot dogs.
However, studies have shown that mustard and onions counteract the bad effects of hot dogs ☺

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.2 years ago

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Joe R.
Joe R.4 years ago

Disgusting food product!

Dale Overall

Even some vegan foods are processed and some vegans do not know this.

Don't eat much in the way of hot dogs, love meat in small portions and given all the processing of foods these days one has to be very cautious.

While hot dogs as one commented are a great food because they are cheap and some people can afford little to spend on food--no there is nothing about hot dogs that are good for you!

Valentina R.
Valentina R.4 years ago

If hot dogs get such labels, every junk food shall be labeled as unhealthy too, otherwise it will be hypocrisy.
Not to mention that it would be pointless, as people eat whatever they want.

MarilynBusy ForCharities
4 years ago

Ooops...sorry for the repetition....it wasn't intentional.

MarilynBusy ForCharities
4 years ago

Please sign my petition to clean up our food supply:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clean-up-our-food-supply/

MarilynBusy ForCharities
4 years ago

Please sign my petition to clean up our food supply:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/clean-up-our-food-supply/

MarilynBusy ForCharities
4 years ago

Moderation doesn't work when you're ingesting toxins.
A lot of poison will kill you quickly but a little poison can make you sicker and sicker over the long run.
The best bet is to avoid the processed foods with all the toxins in them....and hot dogs are not good food.