Why You Shouldn't Eat Gas Station Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are an American favorite street food. These treats are especially great during the warmer seasons when you're relaxing outside with a group of friends. Or perhaps they're simply an option that's super convenient when you're running errands and need a quick fix to keep those hunger pangs at bay. As Time points out, a hot dog isn't the healthiest thing you can eat, especially when it comes to certain ingredients. (But delicious, right?)

For example, hot dog meat is often processed, which puts you at risk for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular issues. A hot dog usually might have over 200 calories, with 18 grams of fat and 620 milligrams of sodium, and that's even before you consider popular add-ons like mustard, ketchup, and relish. Troublesome ingredients in hot dogs include nitrates — essentially, those are preservatives, which isn't great, but the real problem is that some studies have linked nitrates to cancer. 

Maybe you want to live in blissful ignorance of how hot dogs are really made. But when all is said and done, when you're treating yourself to the occasional hot dog, it all comes down to being mindful. One of the things of which you should be mindful is the venue where you're grabbing that quick all-American meal.

They may be super unhealthy

Hot dogs typically include mechanically separated meat — basically, the leftover meat that you get when you work with bones at high temperatures, putting them through a sieve to collect residual meat (via The Daily Meal). While certain hot dog brands avoid such meat, they're usually the kind of products that you'll have to pay more money for. Perhaps it goes without saying that, as a rule of thumb, gas stations aren't going to be offering the most high-quality tube steaks on a bun.

Quite the contrary. High-quality meat? Probably not. Purity of product? Not a good bet. Avoiding harmful chemical ingredients and additives? Not so much. When a Reddit user asked others to chime in with their opinions on gas station hot dogs, a commentator wrote, "Definitely not the best choice. High in saturated fat, sodium, and nitrites ... even a burger or slice of pizza would technically be better." 

It comes down to knowing what's in your food, and it makes sense to do a little research instead, eh? Do yourself a favor and avoid hot dogs when you find yourself at a gas station. Get your hot dog fix from a trusted source instead.