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Is This Food as Toxic as Cigarettes?

By Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

Cigarettes are at the top of health no-no lists, but what about this food? One doctor's group is warning that its just as risky...

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The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a Washington, D.C., group that promotes preventive medicine recently debuted a billboard near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the message: "Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health."

The billboard, which features a picture of hot dogs in a cigarette pack complete with a skull and crossbones points out the risk of colorectal cancer and processed meats, like hot dogs. "A hot dog a day could send you to an early grave," said Levin, a registered dietitian. "People think feeding their kids these foods (is) safe, but (it's) not." Past research has linked daily consumption of processed meats (from hot dogs and pepperoni to deli lunch meats) to a 21 percent increase in certain types of cancer. Experts have said that it's the nitrites/nitrates (preservatives) in these meats that may be to blame.

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Critics of the billboard say it's too harsh, since a hot dog now and then isn't going to "wreck" anyone's health. But, Americans do eat a lot of hot dogs, so it's a good reminder, in general.

I buy all of my hot dogs and deli meats nitrite/nitrate-free (look for "uncured" hot dogs--which are made with sea salt and brine--they taste just as good!). 

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