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What's in your hot dog?

Reasearch what you eat first
Reasearch what you eat first
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On a Super Bowl Sunday, many people will reach for a hot dog, or three or five. But if they knew what their bodies were really ingesting and what the long-term consequences were, maybe they would reach for another alternative.

Hot dogs, together with bacon, sausage, sandwich meat, packaged ham, pepperoni, salami and virtually all red meat used in frozen prepared meals are processed. They are manufactured with a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used as a color fixer by meat companies to turn packaged meats a bright red color so they look fresh. Most processed foods also contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). MSG is an excitotoxin that is linked to migraine headaches, Alzheimer's, obesity, and many other ailments. MSG is used for flavoring in dead-tasting processed meats, along with high levels of sodium (salt). To see how and from what hot dogs are made, watch the following video:

A 2005 University of Hawaii study found that processed meats increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 67 percent. Another study revealed that every 50 grams of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 50 percent. Researchers say that 11% of deaths in men and 16% of deaths in women could be prevented if people who eat a lot of red meat cut their consumption. Conclusive evidence from over 5000 studies has caused the World Cancer Research Fund, after reviewing these studies, to suggest that there is no safe level of consumption of processed meats.

The USDA, for example, tried to ban sodium nitrite in the late 1970’s but was overridden by the meat industry. The FDA believes that nitrite is a safe ingredient and is not associated with cancers in humans at the levels used; however, their studies and conclusions were funded in part by an unrestricted educational grant from the American Meat Institute Foundation.

What can you do?
Always read ingredient labels, don’t buy anything made with sodium nitrite or monosodium glutamate (MSG), try not to eat red meats served by restaurants, schools, hospitals, hotels or other institutions. Most importantly, eat more fresh produce with every meal. There is evidence that natural vitamin C found in citrus fruits and exotic berries helps prevent the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines, protecting you from the devastating health effects of sodium nitrite in processed meats.

Visit the local Rosewood Market & Deli to find healthy alternatives. The address is 2803 Rosewood Drive, just a few minutes from Five Points.



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