Can hot dogs place you at a higher risk for cancer?

August 3, 2011 1:53:54 PM PDT
They're a staple at picnics, but hot dogs should not be a big part of your diet. In fact one non-profit pro-vegan physicians group recently recommended placing a warning label on hot dogs, much like cigarettes.

"There is a significant increase for developing cancer, and there have been studies that have shown colon cancer is at a higher risk in those who consume hot dogs on a frequent basis," said Elizabeth Pash, R.D. at Cleveland Clinic.

The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that eating the equivalent of one hot dog a day raises the risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent.

Studies have also shown a link between processed meats and other cancers, heart disease, and diabetes.

Also, if you have frequent headaches, that may be another reason to hold off on the hot dog. It is one of many foods known to fuel migraines.

"Processed meat, red wine and chocolate you definitely want to stay away from if you're prone to migraines," said Kristin Kirkpatrick, R.D at Cleveland Clinic.

Processed meats like hot dogs and deli meats contain nitrates, which are thought to dilate and constrict blood vessels in the brain, which triggers a headache.

Red wine contains sulfates and chocolate contains phenylethylamine which can create the same effect.