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Eat Right Now

Holy Hot Dog, Grill Man!

By Wendell Fowler
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Yale University Prevention Research Center says diets high in processed meats preserved with nitrosamines compounds have also been linked to increased risk for diabetes, higher mortality, more cardiovascular disease.

As American as apple pie, the bun-wrapped, handheld bundle of smoky summer deliciousness is a sacred tradition. Over the recent years, however, a lot of negative attention has been drawn to hot dogs. If you eat more than one a week, here are some helpful facts. (Nobody really wants to hear this, but you at least need to know.)

Why should you be concerned about a historic tradition? Today’s processed meats are consistently associated with adverse health effects. A study by the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii and the University of Southern California links eating processed meats with cancer. The seven-year study found that people who ate the most processed meats had a 67% higher risk of pancreatic cancer than those who ate the least amount. USC epidemiologists found that children who eat more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. In another study, children who ate hot dogs one or more times per week were also at higher risk of brain cancer.

The problem? Hot dogs are processed, contain cancerous nitrates, and negligible nutrition. (Nitrites are the reason cured meat is pink or red. Without additives like nitrites, the meat would turn brown very quickly. Bottom line: nitrates and nitrites are compounds consisting of nitrogen and oxygen atoms. Nitrates can turn into nitrites, which can then form either nitric oxide – good – or nitrosamines – bad.)

Yale University Prevention Research Center says diets high in processed meats preserved with nitrosamines compounds have also been linked to increased risk for diabetes, higher mortality, more cardiovascular disease.

Studies show the effects of processed meats more harmful in people who don’t eat fresh produce. However, when you eat hot dogs along with antioxidant-rich plant foods like tomatoes, broccoli, lime, cherries, kiwi, lemon, or orange juice, the vitamin C keeps nitrites from changing into nitrosamines, which may help reduce the risk of cancer associated with these ungodly chemicals. But also remember, hot dogs’ high levels of sodium aggravate high blood pressure and water retention.

Clearly, purchasing a brand without nitrates is the wise solution. In response to consumer awareness and demand, Oscar Meyer has released a “nitrate-free” hot dog. Hooray, a shred of conscience. This response clearly implies there is a problem. There are already other nitrate free dogs: Lightlife Smart Dogs, and Applegate uncured hot dogs, to name a few.

Wrapping it all up:  slapping a grilled dog on traditional all-purpose white flour hot dog bun like we have for decades, can or already has, deteriorated your health.

 


Carrot “Hot Dogs”

Modified from: nutritionstudies.org/recipes/meal/carrot-dogs

 

4 large carrots, washed and unpeeled

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

¼ cup water

2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp. honey

¼ tsp. liquid smoke

¼ tsp. garlic powder

½ tsp. onion powder

¼ tsp. black pepper

4 whole grain hot dog buns (Not white bread buns)

 

Trim carrot ends and cut them the length of your buns.

Bring a sauce pan of water to a boil. Add carrots and cook 5-8 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain carrots and put them under cold running water to stop the cooking.

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, water, soy or tamari sauce, honey, liquid smoke, garlic and onion powder, and black pepper.

Transfer marinade to a large zip top bag and add the cooked carrots. Toss gently to coat and refrigerate overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Remove carrots from the marinade and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until heated and slightly browned. Add toppings and enjoy!

 

Chef Wendell hosts Eat Right Now on WISH TV 8 CBS Indianapolis. He can be reached at 317-372-2592 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .Visit his website at Chefwendell.com.

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