If you are a pregnant woman, and you happen to be a lover of sausages and hot dogs, you probably have come across a few warnings about frequent consumption of your preferred kind of protein.
Hot dogs are not just a breakfast fav; they are also a favorite for Americans during the Sundays and holiday barbecues, during baseball games, and during several social gatherings. Hotdogs go by a range of interesting names such as frankfurters or wieners.
However, despite how much love this source of protein has received over time, not everyone knows how hot dogs are made, or what they are. In this article, we will begin by telling you what hotdogs are and how they affect pregnant women who can’t stop eating them.
What is a hotdog?
Hotdogs are cured meat that is made from beef, pork, or poultry by-products.
Many times, women are cautioned against frequent consumption of ready-to-eat foods such as soft cheese, cold cuts, and hot dogs, especially during pregnancy, because there is a huge possibility of them consuming some harmful bacteria.
Well, there is almost nothing wrong with choosing hotdog as your preferred protein during pregnancy. However, with careful preparation, pregnant women may continue to eat and enjoy hot dogs throughout the nine months of pregnancy without the fear of illness.
Bacterial Infection and hotdog consumption
We have mentioned the fear of bacteria associated with the consumption of hotdogs, and here is all you should know. Listeria monocytogenes is the feared bacteria in this case. This genus of bacteria is commonly found in cured meats, cold-cut deli meats, and soft cheeses.
This bacteria is not as friendly as expected, and it is responsible for causing listeriosis, which is an infection that is characterized by gastrointestinal distress and flu-like symptoms.
Those who are particularly susceptible to the condition called listeriosis include little children, the elderly, anyone who has a weakened immune function, and also pregnant women. The reason pregnant women are the focus subjects is the fact that listeriosis is most dangerous during pregnancy, and that is because it can cause a miscarriage, Infection, premature delivery, or even death to the baby.
Proper Heating your hotdog
Listeria monocytogenes is dangerous, but it can easily be destroyed with heat. The question you may want to ask is whether or not hotdogs are precooked as claimed in the packs.
Even though it is a fact that hot dogs are considered precooked meat, it is important that you have them cook sufficiently in order to get rid of any dangerous lurking bacteria.
The risk of getting infected with listeriosis is at the greatest when you consume uncooked deli meats. No matter what delicacy you have made, if your deli meats are not heated properly, there is no way to stop bacteria from thriving in them.
Whether they are boiled, grilled, or microwaved, always remember that your hot dogs must be well steamed and only served hot. No matter how much you hate eating hot food, do not allow your hot dogs to get cold, or you put yourself at risk of further contamination.
Sodium Nitrates and hotdog consumption
An additional concern that is associated with the consumption of hot dogs is sodium nitrates. Just in case you are wondering what Sodium nitrates and nitrites are, they are compounds that are manufactured and utilized as food preservatives to both enhance food color and to extend shelf-life.
Nitrates as food preservatives are used to prevent the formation of any harmful bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes or even Clostridium botulinum.
A study that was conducted in 2007 by Dr. Ute Nothlings et al, Journal of Epidemiology, come up with the findings that participants who ate processed meats in greater amounts suffered a high risk of pancreatic cancer.
Another thing to note is that sodium nitrites are associated with causing severe damage to the blood vessels and increase the risk of causing heart disease.
Alternatives to hotdog
As we have stated, hotdogs are not a bad source of protein for pregnant women. However, if you wish to avoid the risks associated with any form of bacteria or nitrates and still enjoy your hot dogs, there are a few tasty alternatives.
There are some meat-free options that you can find on the market that are created wholly from soy-meat substitutes (tofu), grains, and vegetables. As you may guess, these vegetarian-friendly hotdog options also come with lower fat content compared to normal hot dogs.