According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, Americans bought 730 million packages of hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets last year, spending a total of $3.4 billion. Consuming 50g of processed meat a day, or about one hot dog, can increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent according to a report from the American Institute for Cancer Research.
- When it comes to eating unhealthy foods, limiting consumption is key to disease prevention. Eating hot dogs in small quantities, two to four wieners (with nitrites) per month, likely won't have a significant consequence on your health, (unless you’re on a salt restricted diet).
- It's well known that nitrites have a possible link to cancer, as a possible (not positive) carcinogen—but it is highly dependent on the amount and frequency of consumption of nitrite-containing foods.
- Almost any nutrient can be toxic in high amounts—even water.
- The health message to the public is to limit all processed foods for a lot of reasons—and one of them is nitrites (others are salt and fat). This is also an issue with bologna, salami, bacon, and other processed meats, so you should try to limit your consumption of these foods.
- If you are concerned, or eat hot dogs or other types of processed meat frequently, consider nitrite-free products. They look odd, but taste fine and are found in Whole Foods and many small markets.
- When it comes to hot dogs, regardless of nitrite content, look for lower sodium and fat versions.