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We all know that hot dogs aren’t great for us. However, we still allow ourselves to indulge in the all-American snack during a baseball game or a barbecue, or when we just feel like having a hot dog. Although, for most people, having the odd hot dog poses no real health risks, if you are an expectant mother you may want to think twice about downing that dog, as it can have serious on your child once it is born, including raising their risk of developing cancer.

Hot Dogs and Childhood Cancer

Although it may not seem like a good idea to eat hot dogs when you are pregnant in the first place, there is now conclusive evidence that doing so can raise your child’s risk of developing childhood cancer.

One study published in the international journal Cancer Causes and Control looked at the effect that eating cured meats had in relation to childhood cancer.

Researchers examined 234 cases of cancer and also the types of food and chemicals that the participants were exposed to. They found that the children of pregnant women who ate hot dogs once or more per week had a higher chance of developing brain tumors during childhood.

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Researchers attributed this increased risk of cancer to adverse side effects caused by dietary compounds found in hot dogs called nitrites and nitrosamines.

Nitrites, Nitrates, Nitrosamine and Cancer

Nitrosamine is a chemical compound that is created during the conversion of nitrates to nitrites. It is also considered to be a potent carcinogen and is known to induce tumor growth in humans.

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It can be found in a variety of foods including vegetables, beer and fish. However, it is mostly found in cured and salted meat products such as hot dogs.

It is also cured meat food products (such as hot dogs) that have been attributed as the cause of increased nitrosamine consumption in a variety of countries. Many studies have also associated the consumption of processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages to increased rates of colorectal, rectum and stomach cancer.

So, basically, not only do hot dogs increase the risk of cancer for the people who eat them, but they can also cause cancer in the children of those people as well.

 Uncured Hot Dogs

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Although ordering a hot dog at the baseball stadium may be off the menu, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy hot dogs.

The reason why conventional hot dogs cause cancer is because they contain high levels of nitrates. They are cured using salts that contain high levels of nitrates. This sucks the moisture out of the meat and also give it the distinctive red/pink color.

Although this is the traditional way hot dogs are made, a new, healthier method of curing called “slow curing”. In slow curing, instead of using nitrate-heavy salt, celery juice is used. This is because celery is a natural source of sodium nitrate, and instead of being converted to cancerous nitrosamine it gets converted to nitrous oxide that dissipates into the air rather than becoming digested in your stomach.

You can purchase healthy, uncured hot dogs from brands including Applegate Farms Organic Uncured Beef Hot Dogs and Trader Joe’s All Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs.

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8167261

http://www.livestrong.com/article/489203-are-pregnant-women-allowed-to-eat-cooked-hot-dogs/

http://www.eatingforenergy.com/

http://hbmag.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-a-healthy-hot-dog/

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/lit_rev/cure_smoke_cure.html

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/shopping-storing/food/best-hot-dogs/best-uncured

Image sources:

http://www.tastyislandhawaii.com/images/arabiki_hotdog_uw.jpg

https://pediatricneurosurgery.org/sites/default/files/braintumor1.jpg

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