4/5 experts say no.
Ballgame or no ballgame, hot dogs aren’t hot in the health world, according to four of our experts.
Hot dogs deliver a nutritional assault in many ways: one typical fast food dog with ketchup and mustard contains 290 calories and 910 mg of sodium. (On the plus side, you’re also getting 11 grams of protein.)
The problem with hot dogs is how they’re processed. “While there is some debate about the health effects of pure meats, processed meats—and all hot dogs fall into that category, some more processed than others—are consistently associated with adverse health effects,” says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. Diets high in processed meats have been linked with cancer, especially colorectal cancer.
Peter Clifton, professor of nutrition at the University of South Australia, puts it this way: “All data says processed meat is bad: more diabetes, higher mortality, more cardiovascular disease,” he says. His March paper published in the journal Metabolism found that processed foods are associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes compared to red meat, probably partly due to the way that iron interacts with the saturated fat, salt and nitrates—an added preservative—found in processed meats.