This Is What Happens If You Eat A Hot Dog Every Day

Hot dogs are an American staple. They can be found everywhere from baseball games to family cookouts to fast-food restaurants. But even though hot dogs are a beloved part of American cuisine, they aren't the healthiest things you can put in your body. Hot dogs are typically made from the leftover trimmings of animals after the choice cuts have already been made. Depending on the brand and individual product, a hot dog can contain beef, poultry, pork, water, spices, sugar, nitrites, nitrates, and/or artificial sweeteners and colors (via How Stuff Works).

Although some hot dogs are better than others, these products are all highly processed and contain a variety of questionable ingredients. Research has shown that processed meats are harmful to your health if you consume them regularly. "The current evidence suggests the higher [the] intake of processed meat, the higher the risk of chronic diseases and mortality," said Frank Hu, Fredrick J. Stare of Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Eating processed meat like a hot dog sparingly shouldn't harm your health, but limit your consumption to once or twice a month. Eating one every day could put you at a high risk of developing conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Hot dogs and hot dog condiments are often high in sugar and sodium

Most hot dogs contain a high amount of sodium for flavor and preservation purposes. According to Consumer Reports, many hot dogs have over 500 milligrams of sodium per link. This is almost one-fourth of the daily recommended intake for adults. Hot dogs aren't huge, so it's not uncommon for people to eat more than one in a single sitting. Too much sodium in your diet can be harmful to your health, contributing to everything from high blood pressure to stroke to heart disease (via FDA).

The things we usually eat with hot dogs, like buns and condiments, also tend to be bad for our health. Hot dog buns, for example, are often made from refined white flour and can be high in sugar and sodium. Ketchup, mustard, and relish can also contain a large amount of sugar and sodium for flavor. If you want to make your hot dog a little healthier, choose a whole-wheat bun with fiber and limit the amount of condiments you use. Or, you can swap out sugar- and sodium-loaded toppings with healthier ones like sauerkraut, fresh lettuce, and tomatoes.