MANHATTAN, Kansas - When it comes to healthy food choices, hot dogs are probably not high on most lists, but researchers at Kansas State University say the Oscar Mayer Weiner is better for you than chicken.
That's because hot dogs, along with pepperoni and deli meats, contain a good deal less carcinogenic compounds than other ready-to-eat meats, including chicken.
Researchers looked specifically at HCAs in eight kinds of meat: eight kinds of meat: beef hot dogs, beef-pork-turkey hot dogs, deli roast beef, deli ham, deli turkey, fully cooked bacon, pepperoni and rotisserie chicken.
Studies have shown that humans who consume large amounts of HCAs in meat products have increased risk of stomach, colon and breast cancers.
"These are the most common types of ready-to-eat products, and their use has increased in recent years because of convenience," J. Scott Smith, professor of food chemistry said. "For this research, we took each of these products and prepared them as a consumer would."
That preparation included heating the hot dogs up in a microwave, cooking the pepperoni on a pizza and using the chicken and deli meat as obtained.
The study found hot dogs and other processed deli meats were nearly free of all cancerous chemical compounds.
"Hot dogs and deli meat may have low HCA levels because they are manufactured at low temperatures," Smith said. "The low HCA levels may also be from ingredients that are added to the meat and prevent HCAs from forming while the meat is cooking."
The study also found lower levels of HCA compounds in pepperoni and other deli-prepared meats like ham and roast beef. The rotisserie chicken - particularly the skin, and the bacon had the highest levels of HCA.
"Based on this research, HCA consumption can be reduced by not eating chicken skin," Smith said.