When you were a child, you can probably remember the time when you loved hot dogs. They were and still are enjoyable snacks for kids. However, things are changing and it has been discovered that hot dogs are not that fun anymore – especially since they cause certain cancers.

An article in LA Times stated that children who eat over 12 hot dogs every month could increase their risk of acquiring childhood leukemia nine times more than those who don’t consume as many hot dogs. Cancer Causes and Control published two reports where children whose mothers eat at least one hot dog every week during pregnant have double amount of risk in developing brain tumors. Fathers also have a role to play as they can cause the same disease when they eat hot dogs before their partner conceived.

Hot Dog Cancer - Copy

Cancer-Causing Nitrites

Hot dogs have nitrites, which are an additive that form carcinogen. This is why there are petitions that support banning of the additive. There are also three studies that state how childhood cancer can be caused by eating hot dogs. The primary aim of nitrites is to prevent botulism, which is food poisoning due to botulinum, a bacterium that grows on canned or processed foods.

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When you cook the hot dogs, the nitrites join amines to produce N-Nitroso compounds that can cause cancer. While there are still no studies to prove it, nitrites are suspected to form the carcinogenic compound in the stomach once they combine with amines. As the two merge, this could lead to oral cavity cancers, as well as cancers in the stomach, brain, esophagus, and urinary bladder.

Other Foods that Contain Nitrites

There are other food products that contain nitrites, including every cured meat you can find, such as fish and bacon. It may also surprise you to know that vegetables also have nitrites, including celery, green lettuce, and spinach. However, they do not cause cancer because the veggies themselves fight cancer. As nitrites and amines join, vegetables also have vitamins, including C and D, which stop the formation of carcinogenic compounds, namely N-nitroso.

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The Good News

If you or your children are truly fond of hot dogs, you will be glad to know that not all hot dogs have nitrites. Hot dogs are normally seen in red color, but you can also find brown ones, which are considered nitrite-free. Unfortunately, they are not as popular as the red ones. Still, they are safer and much healthier than the popular red hot dogs.


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