No matter if you’re dieting, trying to bulk up, get shredded or you have some other objective you’d like to achieve, you’re probably going to need to do a lot of research into the foods you’d like to incorporate in your diet, to see if they are a good fit for achieving your particular goals.
There are many criteria that can be used to determine whether something is healthy or not, such as the amount of protein, fat, sodium, added chemicals and so on. Today we are going to focus on comparing hot dogs and sausages, going over their main differences, as well as how and what they are made of so we can determine which of these products are healthier.
Before we go onto our main topic and discuss which of these two meat products are healthier, let’s take a closer look at the differences between these two products and the way they are produced.
What Are Hot Dogs?
The name hot dog can be used to refer to a food consisting of a bun and a steamed sausage or the sausage itself. The sausage used in a hot dog is also known as a wiener or a frankfurter.
It was German sausage makers that first came up with the idea of hot dogs. Traditional hot dogs or wieners are made from a mix of different meats, including beef, pork and chicken. Hot dogs are made using meat trimmings, which are pieces of meat leftover from cutting pork chops or steaks in addition to processed chicken trimmings. These are the main components of a traditional hot dog, although there are a lot of other ingredients that are used, such as food starch, corn syrup, salt and other flavorings.
Hot dogs or wieners can be prepared in many different ways, although they are typically boiled or grilled.
To differentiate between a hot dog and a sausage, let’s take a closer look at sausages and see what they’re made of.
What Are Sausages?
Same as wieners, sausages are a meat product made from ground beef, pork, veal, turkey, or poultry and mixed with fat, salt, and other spices, flavorings and sometimes fillers. Although hot dogs are technically a type of sausage, there are several differences between a typical sausage and a wiener so let’s check out what those are.
What differentiates a sausage from a hot dog is that sausages are traditionally encased in animal intestines, although sometimes synthetic alternatives are used. Most commonly, hot dogs are eaten without the skin or casing, while the casing of the sausage is typically safe to consume. The main difference between a sausage and a hot dog is that hot dogs are fully cooked and can be eaten right out of the bag, while sausages are most commonly packed uncooked and need to be stored in the refrigerator before cooking.
Sausages can be prepared in a variety of ways and go great with a ton of dishes. They can be smoked, grilled, pan-fried, broiled and so on.
Another big difference between a sausage and a wiener is the fact that sausages are typically made using a lot more spices, and can also have other fillers in addition to the meat, including breadcrumbs, grains, leek, onion, peppers and even apple. This makes sausages more diverse than the regular old hot dog. This also affects the texture as sausages have a more composite mixture of bits and pieces of meat and other fillers, while hot dogs have a smooth, paste-like texture.
Sausages VS Hot Dogs – Which One’s Healthier?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how wieners and sausages are made and what they are made of, let’s go over to our main topic and see which of these popular meat products is healthier.
A good benchmark to follow when comparing these types of meat products, is to go over their protein, fat, and sodium content as well as check to see how much added chemicals, preservatives and additives they have.
Since not all sausages are made the same way, we cannot put them all in the same basket and label them as either healthy or unhealthy. As with almost all foods, going with a traditionally-made, less-processed alternative, or making them yourself is always better that buying factory-made ones. However, not everyone has those options, which is why we’ve composed a short and simple list of things on the label to look out for which can give you a good idea of how healthy or unhealthy the sausage might be.
Note: The World Health Organization and the Cancer Council advise that we limit our intake of processed meats in general as they are linked to colorectal cancer, as evidence shows that eating just one sausage a day increases the risk of cancer by 20%.
Here’s what you need to look for when buying any type of sausage:
- Meat percentage
Choose sausages with the highest meat percentages possible, ideally over 85%.
- Saturated fat
We recommend you go with sausages that have 4g or less saturated fat per 100g.
- Protein content
Look for sausages with around 8-20% of protein. If you’re looking for a veggie substitute, choose ones that have around 15% of protein or more.
- Sodium levels
We recommend you choose sausages that have 450mg sodium or less per serving.
- Additives and preservatives
Avoid sausages with a lot of added preservatives and additives.
However, it’s a different story when it comes to hot dogs, although they are considered to be a type of sausage.
According to health experts, hot dogs should be eaten sparingly due to their high fat, sodium, and nitrites content.
If you want to keep hot dogs on the menu but are concerned about their high fat and sodium levels as well as the type of meat they’re made of, switching to turkey hot dogs or a veggie hot dog alternative can provide you with a significant amount of dietary protein, yet still be able to satisfy your cravings.
While hot dogs aren’t considered as a healthy source of protein, and there are several other high-protein alternatives that are more heart healthy, they don’t have to be completely banned from your menu and are safe to consume from time to time. Keep in mind that moderation is key no matter what type of foods we’re talking about.
So, no matter if you choose to go with a hot dog, a traditional sausage or a veggie option, fire up the grill and you can have a simple, yet mouthwatering meal that you can enjoy with your friends and family in just a few minutes.