7 Secret Ingredients Hiding in Your Hot Dogs (VIDEO)

hot dogWhat's in your hot dogs? Do you really want to know -- or is that one of those questions better not asked, like "What's that weird smell?" and "Am I pulling off these skinny jeans?" Just in case you're a wee bit curious, we're pulling back the curtain on these mystery sausages. You'll find meat in hot dogs, that is for certain. But you'll also find these 7 ingredients in most mass-produced hot dogs. Do you dare find out?


1. Mechanically-separated meat. Some people call it pink slime. Whatever you call it, it's bits of meat and other tissue mechanically forced off the bone and combined into a paste-like substance. But another way to think about it is that hot dogs help avoid wasting food.

2. Corn syrup. Some hot dogs contain corn syrup for taste and as a thickener. It doesn't need to be there, but just about everything has sweetener these days.

3. Beef stock. This is also for flavoring -- and you'll find it even in turkey hot dogs, sometimes.

4. Spices. For flava!

5. Grain filler. Because meat is expensive.

6. Erythorbate and other additives. These are preservatives.

7. Nitrates. Whether it's in the form of sodium nitrate or celery salt (often used for "natural" hot dogs), nitrates are nitrates. So be skeptical of labels that read "no nitrates added." The American Cancer Society says eating a lot of processed foods made with nitrates can put you at risk for colon cancer. On the other hand, some say nitrates aren't as harmful as we think.

The American Cancer Society defines "high consumption" of hot dogs (and other foods high in nitrates) as 1 ounce a day, 2 to 3 days a week for women (5 or 6 a week for men). Oh -- and a hot dog is more like 2 ounces, so that sure sounds like you should limit yourself to just one or two hot dogs a week. Kind of makes you wonder about those kids who practically live on hot dogs, right?

Here, let the guys from Discovery News explain what's in hot dogs.

How often do you eat hot dogs? Do you want to know what's in them, or would you rather keep it a mystery?


Image via TheCulinaryGeek/Flickr

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