What Is Really in Hot Dogs?

What Is Really in Hot Dogs?
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What percentage of a hot dog is actually muscle tissue?

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Actually, there was a forensic study on hot dogs published earlier this year in the Annals of Diagnostic Pathology to answer the age-old question: what is really in them? It was like a CSI episode! They found…bone, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage, skin. But the kicker was that the amount of actual meat in a hot dog was less than ten percent.

Let’s look at hot dogs. Same serving size, but Bessie’s over here has almost five times more calories, 150 times more fat, infinitely more saturated fat, and cholesterol.

How did the meat industry respond to this devastating new cancer report? Well, the beef industry spin was that the report was “bad advice,” and that “another scientific study found no link between meat and cancer.” A study that was, in their words, “independent,” “comprehensive.” “How the WCRF research report could come to a different conclusion is perplexing,” they wrote. Well, I found the “independent, comprehensive study” to which the beef industry is referring, and wasn’t perplexed anymore!

I was on to this study like brown on rice. Here are the so-called “facts.” Let’s compare: the WCRF report looked at 7,000 studies; theirs looked at 500. This report has 537 pages; this one has four. This report was written by nine independent teams of scientists, hundreds of peer reviewers, and 21 of the top cancer researchers in the world. This one was written by these two guys. You can’t see, but the picture cuts off their cowboy hats.

Time spent to produce: this one took more than five years; this one just says “last summer.” And finally, the report that found a link between meat and cancer was overseen by the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and funded by a leading cancer charity. This other one was overseen by a scientists-for-hire, for-profit firm, which has come out with similar reports downplaying the risk of pesticides, asbestos, and, of course, cigarette smoke. This “independent” study? Bought and paid for by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

But if you think that takes gall, wait until you see what the pork industry did. Smithfield, the largest pork producer in the world, launched the “Deli for the Cure” campaign, donating five cents to early detection for every pound sold of exactly the type of meat the WCRF report says causes the most cancer. I guess it’s the least they can do. If they’re going to give us cancer early, might as well help detect it early for us, too.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Actually, there was a forensic study on hot dogs published earlier this year in the Annals of Diagnostic Pathology to answer the age-old question: what is really in them? It was like a CSI episode! They found…bone, blood vessels, nerves, cartilage, skin. But the kicker was that the amount of actual meat in a hot dog was less than ten percent.

Let’s look at hot dogs. Same serving size, but Bessie’s over here has almost five times more calories, 150 times more fat, infinitely more saturated fat, and cholesterol.

How did the meat industry respond to this devastating new cancer report? Well, the beef industry spin was that the report was “bad advice,” and that “another scientific study found no link between meat and cancer.” A study that was, in their words, “independent,” “comprehensive.” “How the WCRF research report could come to a different conclusion is perplexing,” they wrote. Well, I found the “independent, comprehensive study” to which the beef industry is referring, and wasn’t perplexed anymore!

I was on to this study like brown on rice. Here are the so-called “facts.” Let’s compare: the WCRF report looked at 7,000 studies; theirs looked at 500. This report has 537 pages; this one has four. This report was written by nine independent teams of scientists, hundreds of peer reviewers, and 21 of the top cancer researchers in the world. This one was written by these two guys. You can’t see, but the picture cuts off their cowboy hats.

Time spent to produce: this one took more than five years; this one just says “last summer.” And finally, the report that found a link between meat and cancer was overseen by the World Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and funded by a leading cancer charity. This other one was overseen by a scientists-for-hire, for-profit firm, which has come out with similar reports downplaying the risk of pesticides, asbestos, and, of course, cigarette smoke. This “independent” study? Bought and paid for by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

But if you think that takes gall, wait until you see what the pork industry did. Smithfield, the largest pork producer in the world, launched the “Deli for the Cure” campaign, donating five cents to early detection for every pound sold of exactly the type of meat the WCRF report says causes the most cancer. I guess it’s the least they can do. If they’re going to give us cancer early, might as well help detect it early for us, too.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

More on the link between cancer and processed meats:

Telomeres: Cap It All Off with Diet
Artificial Food Colors and ADHD
From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
Prevention Is Better Than Cured Meat

And check out my Hot Dogs & Leukemia video. 

For further context, see my associated blog post: Breast Cancer and Diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

21 responses to “What Is Really in Hot Dogs?

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  1. This is like The Ronald McDonald House. If McDonald’s has a goal to make each child ( or adult for that matter ) sick, by promoting and selling horrible garbage they pass off as food , Well , they may as well build a home next to the hospitals to put children in so they can slowly die from the poison they promote

  2. Yum, all the best parts. I challenge you doctor to find any better food than bone. And you surely understand LDL metabolism and know that dietary fat and cholesterol have nothing to do with LDL creation. It’s almost all sugar-fueled. But let’s not let science get in the way.

  3. Now Greger, I support what you do, what you’re all about; but one thing I fear is that as we eat less meat as a society, and people will start losing body fat, our women will start losing their asses. As one man to another, how can you not like a woman with an over sized ass, big wide hips and love handles? And I think a pot belly is a plus, because you get more to hold on to, and I love being able to give my girls a big hug.

    So you bet I feed my girls hot dogs and tasty cakes.

    1. Evidence *for*? No

      Evidence *against*? YES

      I was recently at a conference where Susan Levine, MS, RD, CSSD (the director of nutrition education with PCRM) reported on the pros and cons of various “fad”/trend diets. She covered Eat For Your Blood Type. Here are the cons for the diet:

      “>>>Systematic Review was done. Included 16 articles. 1 met all criteria. Results: No studies show health effects, despite references in ABO books to forthcoming studies. (Cusack L, et al. Blood type diets lack supporting evidence: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. Published online May 22, 2013.)

      >>>No scientific evidence is given for recommendations.

      >>>Long lists of fruits, vegetables, grains, etc., to avoid for each blood type.”

      Basically, there is nothing to support the idea that your blood type should dictate what you eat.

      Hope that helps.

    1. JB- to date we cannot report on any known benefits of pig’s meat over any other. The risks inherent in eating any meat outweigh the benefits. Eating meat increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other preventable diseases as well as foodborne illness. Learn more in these videos (and many others, just search meat on our site.)

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/harvards-meat-and-mortality-studies/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/trans-fat-in-meat-and-dairy/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/carnitine-choline-cancer-and-cholesterol-the-tmao-connection/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/estrogenic-cooked-meat-carcinogens/

  4. Are organic hot dogs any healthier? In Applegate Organics hot dogs, I think the preservative is celery powder. I have been reading that there are a lot of nitrates in even these hot dogs, but is there a difference in terms of health since it’s a vegetable powder?

  5. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer. Thanks for your great question. Organic junk food is still junk food. All meat is potentially carcinogenic which is why Dr. Greger recommends a whole food plant based diet. Organic hot dogs do not fit that description. Here is some more information you might like:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-organic-meat-less-carcinogenic/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/carcinogens-in-meat/

    NurseKelly

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