To many people, hot dogs bring back memories of ballparks, backyard barbecues, and good times. Hot dogs are easy to grill, inexpensive – that all-American convenient food that’s perfect to grab when you’re running late or to snack on during a ball game. A lot of people seem to love this food. But does that mean they’re healthy enough for you to eat every day?
Hot dogs are made from meat, making them a source of protein. However, the preservatives and condiments in hot dogs are not all healthy. Eating hot dogs every day can increase the risk of several diseases, affecting your heart, gut, and even your mental health.
Are you wondering about the effects that a hot dog diet would have upon your body? Read on to learn what happens when you eat hot dogs every day.
1. You Get Protein
Your body needs protein. As you already know, protein is the building block of life. Playing a crucial role in repairing and making cells, protein is essential for growth and development in all stages of life. It also builds muscle mass and strength, which is why bodybuilders like to consume protein shakes. Of course, meat is one of the best protein sources, and hot dogs are high in protein because meat is the main ingredient.
According to the FDA, the daily recommended value of protein is 50 grams. For example, a typical beef hot dog offers 12.32 grams of protein for 100-gram portions, and a turkey hot dog has around 12.87 grams of protein. So, if you eat two hot dogs in a meal, that’s a pretty decent amount of your daily 50 grams of protein!
However, hot dogs often contain twice as much fat and sodium that protein. An occasional hot dog in the context of a balanced diet can give you some good protein, but eating a hot dog every day might not be the smartest choice.
2. Reduces Cravings
Carbs, fats, and protein are the three macronutrients, and they all affect your body in different ways.
Research has shown that protein is the most filling macronutrient, meaning that they help you feel fuller with less food.
One of the ways protein works to reduce craving is by lowering the level of the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosting the levels of hormones that make you feel full.
This can have a powerful effect on appetite. Studies show that eating more protein allows people to eat fewer calories daily without feeling hungry or intentionally restricting anything.
So, hot dogs are a great way to keep you full throughout the day without craving food.
3. Drives Up Cholesterol Levels
As you age, cholesterol levels become a constant thing to worry about. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood. Not all cholesterol is bad, and your body actually needs cholesterol to build healthy cells. However, a high level of cholesterol is detrimental. Although high cholesterol can be inherited, most cases are the cause of poor lifestyle choices such as inactivity and an unhealthy diet.
Processed meats are incredibly high in saturated fats, which increases cholesterol levels. The maximum recommended amount of saturated fat in a day is 13 grams. But a single hot dog usually contains 4 grams of saturated fat! This means that if you eat three hot dogs in a sitting, you get about 90% of the suggested saturated fat in a single meal. If that’s the case, think how much-saturated fat you might be taking in a full day.
4. Raises Blood Pressure
Did you know that hot dogs are one of the most sodium-concentrated foods? Fast food items and processed foods are loaded with sodium to preserve them and enhance their taste. Unfortunately, high sodium diets increase blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases over time.
Although current recommendations allow 2,300 milligrams per day, the American Heart Association advises keeping your salt intake under 1,500 milligrams daily. Since our diet is saturated with diet, it can exceed the limits very fast.
For example, a regular hot dog contributes over 30% of your daily recommended intake. Considering that most people eat more than one hot dog in a sitting and eat other high sodium foods throughout the day, the recommended value is easily exceeded.
5. Increases Heart Disease Risk
The fact that a daily dog might increase your chances of a heart attack is hard to hear, but it is the truth. We’ve already seen that hot dogs are high in saturated fat and sodium. We have already looked at how hot dogs increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Unfortunately, these factors contribute to heart disease.
Research has shown that people who eat processed meats daily have a higher risk of heart failure and death from heart failure when compared to those who do not eat processed meat. This is because eating hot dogs every day leads to plaque build-up, which stiffens and narrows your blood vessels. This causes your heart to work harder to pump blood and, over time, leads to a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
6. Increases Diabetes Risk
You can create more health problems if you aren’t careful about your hot dog toppings. Most of us enjoy squirting ketchup into hotdogs. But how healthy is that?
If you love ketchup, here is some bad news for you – you might want to cut down on it from now on. Ketchup has been one of the most popular condiments worldwide and a hot dog staple for a long time. Unfortunately, however, ketchup can increase your chances of getting diabetes.
Your daily recommended value for sugar per day is 50 grams. But a single ketchup packet usually holds about 2 grams. So, if you use three packs on a dog, it makes 6 grams. And, if you eat more than one dog, it produces over 20% of your 50 grams right there. Plus, if you wash your dog down with a 12 oz. Soda, that’s another 39 grams of sugar.
If you have health problems or type 2 diabetes, eating hot dogs every day is a big no. You can still have a good dog occasionally, but make sure to go easy on the ketchup!
7. Increases Cancer Risk
As if heart disease and diabetes were not enough, hot dogs have more bitter truths hidden up their sleeves. According to the World Health Organization, processed meats fall under Group 1 carcinogens, including hot dogs. This group contains substances that have the most substantial evidence of causing cancer in people. Tobacco and asbestos also fall under this category with processed meats.
Studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) revealed that eating 50 grams of processed meats per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. Fifty grams of processed meats equals a single hot dog. So, if you are eating hot dogs every day, you might want to keep these facts in mind!
8. May Cause Digestive Issues
Hot dogs might be delicious, but they lack fiber, which is vital for your digestive system to function correctly. It’s recommended to eat 25 to 35 grams a day to make sure that things keep moving in your digestive tract. Fiber also lowers the risk of diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and hernias, which cause constipation and straining.
Fiber also allows good gut bacteria to flourish and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Unfortunately, hot dogs usually provide 0 dietary fiber.
9. Can Leave You Bloated
Bloating is that swollen, bloated feeling due to excess gas in your stomach that leaves you feeling uncomfortable. Bloating usually is temporary but can bring an unpleasant awareness about your body.
Foods like hot dogs, high in sodium, fat, and heavy in refined carbs, such as white bread and buns, can leave you feeling swollen. And, if you have a carbonated drink with your dog, things can get worse.
10. Starves You Nutritionally
Sure, you get some protein in your hot dog, but it’s far from a healthy and well-balanced diet. The high calorie, sodium, and fat in your dog are accompanied by poor nutritional content. If you are filling yourself with hot dogs daily, your body will soon lack the essential nutrients it needs to function properly.
11. Drains Your Energy
We usually eat to refuel our energy, but some types of foods actually zap energy. For example, hot dogs can drain your energy because they are high in fat and low in fiber, two factors that slow down digestion.
Refined carbohydrates and sugar produce a surge of insulin in your bloodstream to bring it down, which leaves you feeling tired. Too much fat can also make you feel bloated and overly full, causing you to lack energy and desire for the next few hours.
12. Leads to Weight Gain
Besides the severe health risks of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, you also have to worry about weight gain from eating hot dogs every day.
A diet of hot dogs is low in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains and high in processed meats. It is also often accompanied by sugary drinks and refined carbohydrates. All of these are linked to long-term weight gain and obesity.
13. Affects Your Mood
Diet is more closely related to mood than you might think. For example, multiple studies have shown that people who indulge in junk food, sugars, and processed meats are more likely to report symptoms of depression. So, keep in mind that eating a healthy diet with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is vital to maintain your body and soul happy.
Hot dog, bun, ketchup, and mustard. Fixing a five-minute meal of hot dogs is so fast and easy, but it might take more years and happiness off your life than you imagined. You can indeed treat yourself to a hot dog once in a while, but to maintain your health, you should not feast on them every day!