Hot dogs were a summertime favorite of mine until I read these three not-so-magic words: Mechanically Separated Turkey. What is it? You can find out below, but it's definitely not something I want smeared with mustard and sauerkraut and wedged in a bun. In fact, your average tube steak has a few more dubious ingredients you may want to take note of before this weekend's BBQ. (Hot dog mavens don't despair: There are healthy brands that taste great.)
BEEF AND PORK:
Both are high in protein-and in unhealthy saturated fat and cholesterol; the meat could come from pig and cow skeletal muscle and by-products.
MECHANICALLY SEPARATED TURKEY:
A paste-like substance produced when tissue is removed from bones through a high-pressure sieve. This product is versatile and cheap-and not just for turkey dogs.
Helps preserve the red tint of cured meat. Studies have shown that consuming sodium nitrite may increase cancer risk and trigger migraines.
A combo of cornstarch and acids, corn syrup is used as a thickener and sweetener. It contains no nutrients but does add extra calories.
EXTRACTIVES OF PAPRIKA:
As a spice, paprika is a good source of fiber and vitamins A and E. However, the extractive form doesn't offer much aside from color.
ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C):
Another color and flavor preservative, ascorbic acid helps to neutralize the potential harmful side effects of sodium nitrate.
BETTER BUY: Applegate Farms Organic Beef Hot Dogs
Made with USDA-certified organic beef and without nitrites and corn syrup, these dogs are lower in saturated fat, calories, and sodium than typical supermarket or ballpark fare.
More Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday BBQ:
Spring and warmer weather are here! Jump start your winter weight loss with Liz and 2-Week Turnaround!
Having trouble slimming down? Sugar could be your problem. Find a new approach with The DTOUR Diet book -- Free for 21 days!
[photo credit: Getty Images]