Hot dog is a type of meat sausage usually served in a bread or bun and garnished with mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, onions, cheese and relish. Hot dogs are also famous by some other names such as frankfurter, franks, weiner, ball packs, dachshund, and mini sausages.
The orgin of Hot dog is not known clearly. However, the Frankfurt a city of Germany has credited itself for preparing the first frankfurter in 1852 but some believed it was first prepared in 1600s in Coburg, Germany by a butcher named Johann Geoghehner. The term “dog” is being used to refer to the meat sausage since 1884.
Ingredients and Preparation
The main ingredients of hot dog sausages are – meat trimmings (pork, beef, chicken or turkey), meat fat, binder or filler (oatmeal or breadcrumb), salt, egg whites, seasoning (garlic, pepper and onion), preservative (sodium nitrate and nitrite).
Beef and pork are the most commonly used meats for the preparation of hot dogs, however the chicken and turkey can also be used. There are two types of hot dogs which are generally produced by manufacturers – wieners and franks. Weiner is made from pork meat whereas frank is solely made up of beef meat.
Commercial preparation of hot dog sausage involves mechanical grinding and mixing of all the ingredients (meat, meat fat, fillers, seasoning and spices) together in a large vat, stuffing into casings (synthetic cellulose casings are generally used in commercial preparation of sausages), and cooking in hot water.
Health and Nutrition Facts
Serving size – 1 Sandwich (98 g)
Approximate values per serving (Calories – 242 cal, Fat – 14.5 g, Carbohydrates – 18 g, Protein – 10.4 g, Saturated fat – 5.1 g, Cholesterol – 44 mg, Sodium – 670 mg, Sugars – 0 g)
Nutritional and Health Benefits of Hot Dogs
1. No sugar- excessive refined sugar intake may result in diabetes.
2. Low in cholesterol – the cholesterol is not good for human heart and it leads to many cardiovascular disorders.
3. Good source of protein – the proteins are the building blocks of human muscles, hence they are required for building healthy and strong muscles.
4. Rich in B-vitamins – B12, niacin, riboflavin, B6, and folate- Vitamin B12 helps in lowering risk of heart diseases. Niacin helps in the digestion, and functioning of nerves. Riboflavin is required for the healthy skin, eyes and liver. It also helps the proper functioning of nervous system. Vitamin B6 plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the body’s immune system. It also helps in the formation of RBCs. Folate aids in the creation of DNA and maintaining normal brain function. Folate is a critical part of spinal fluid. Our body also requires folate for the formation of RBCs.
5. High in phosphorus, zinc and selenium - Phosphorus works together with calcium for building and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. Phosphorus also helps in filtering waste from kidneys and maintains a balance of other vital minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Zinc is required for the proper functioning of our body’s immune system. Selenium helps in lowering inflammation.
6. Contains copper and iron also – Copper helps in Iron absorption in the body. It also protects the body from free radical damage. Iron is an essential component of blood hemoglobin which transports oxygen in body.
Hot Dog - Health Hazards
1. Hot dogs are usually high in saturated fat and sodium which can result in health issues especially in obese people and peolpe suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure.
2. Hot dog contains sodium nitrate and nitrite which is a preservative and also enhances the color and flavor of sausages. It may be harmful for the body because this preservative may increase the risk of cancer especially the colonal cancer.
3. Packed hog dogs may contain bacteria listeria monocytogenes which causes listeriosis. To be on the safer side, they should be heated properly before intake, especially for those who have weak immune system and pregnant ladies.
4. Weight watchers should be extremely careful about limited intake of hot dogs because they are high in calories and saturated fats.
Hot Dog - Healthy Alternatives
1. The beef or pork hot dogs can be replaced with low fat chicken or turkey hot dogs to reduce the calories, fat, and sodium content of the hot dogs.
2. The organic hot dogs contain less fat, less sodium and zero nitrate or nitrite.
3. The meat sausages can also be replaced with vegetarian meat substitutes to make veggie dog. Also, vegetable tofu can be used to make a tofu frank which would be much healthier than a hot dog.
4. A healthy hot dog or health dog can be prepared with a whole wheat bread or bun and a lot of fresh vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, onions and bell peppers.