ARE HOT DOGS HEALTHIER WITHOUT ADDED NITRATES?
Backyard cooks looking to grill this summer have another option: hot dogs without “added nitrites.” But are they any healthier?
Oscar Mayer is touting its new hot dog recipe that uses nitrites derived from celery juice instead of artificial sodium nitrite, which is used to preserve the pinkish colors of processed meats and prevents botulism. Kraft Heinz, which owns Oscar Mayer, says sodium nitrite is among the artificial ingredients it has removed from the product to reflect changing consumer preferences. The change comes amid a broader trend of big food makers purging ingredients that people may feel are not natural.
But nitrites are nitrites — and the change makes little difference — according to those who advise limiting processed meat.
Although natural preservatives may not make hot dogs healthier, they fit with the growing preference for ingredients like celery juice that people can easily recognize.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.
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