Which is healthier? Hot dogs or hamburgers?

Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-13 17:45:35-04

Hot dogs and hamburgers are two favorite all-American foods.  But which one is healthier? Let’s be honest, neither of these are super healthy.  

But let’s start off first comparing calories. A typical plain hot dog is around 150 calories, jumping to around 350 calories when you add the bun and toppings like ketchup, mustard and relish.  A small hamburger by itself is about 300 calories -  add in the bun, a slice of cheese and you’re easily up to 500 calories.  The hot dog seems like the winner here but only if you don’t pile on toppings and eat only one.   

Mary Adragna from Virginia chooses hamburgers over hot dogs. She wrote, “Ground sirloin with no-sodium seasonings on multi-grain bun. Hot dogs are one of the worst foods you can eat. Bad all the way around!”

Well Mary, I love that you choose no-sodium seasoning and a multi-grain bun.  Multi-grain is much better than white bread and buns.  Whole grain foods are more nutritional as they provide more fiber, immune-supporting selenium, and bone-strengthening magnesium.  Now Mary said hot dogs are one of the worst foods you can eat. And not everyone is going to agree with her but there’s no getting around the fact that they are highly processed and packed with sodium, fat and nitrites.  And on top of that, processed meats have been linked to cancer. Even opting for the nitrate free or uncured versions may not be any safer. 

Virginia Beadle posted, “I think a hamburger is healthier. Hot dogs as good as they are & I love them, there is so much dumb salt in them, you can add or take away salt from a hamburger. Love them both.”

I have to agree with Virginia, a hamburger overall is healthier.  I’m talking about a healthy size, roughly 4 ounces made with 90 percent lean ground meat and not piled high with cheese or bacon.   Burgers provide zinc, iron and a whole lot more protein than a typical hot dog.  But, there are drawbacks.  Many premade hamburgers are way too big.  And experts from 10 countries looked at over 800 studies and their report suggested that red meat is likely carcinogen and may cause cancer.  On top of that, both red and processed meats have been linked to heart disease and diabetes.  But the bottom line is it’s ok to eat either of these in moderation – as long as they’re part of an overall healthy diet.  Just don’t supersize your meals and stick to healthier toppings like tomatoes, peppers, grilled onions and mushrooms.