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If most had to hazard a guess, between rotisserie chicken or a hot dog and healthiness, most would probably choose chicken. Research says the smarter and healthier choice is actually a hot dog.
Hot dogs haven’t gotten the best reviews and aren’t particularly favored by health fanatics – but it turns out that the lack of carcinogens could increase longevity. Hot dogs, pepperoni and deli meats also fall into the healthier category – all because they’re relatively free of carcinogenic compounds, according to Kansas State University research.
A K-State research team has been looking ready-to-eat meat products to determine levels of heterocyclic amines – otherwise known simply as HCAs. HCAs are carcinogenic compounds contained in fried or grilled meats, and meats cooked at high temperatures. Study shows that consuming large amounts of HCAs, in meat products, increases risks of cancers including stomach, colon and breast cancers.
Ready-to-eat meat products that don't need additional preparation or cooking, the study says, are safer to ingest. Eight types of ready-to-eat meat products were examined including beef hot dogs, beef-pork-turkey hot dogs, deli roast beef, deli ham, deli turkey, fully cooked bacon, pepperoni and rotisserie chicken.
Some of the ready-to-eat meats were heated by either microwave or oven, but didn’t require cooking. Pepperoni was shown to have the least HCA content, with hot dogs and deli meats closely following. The HCA intake related to the ready-to-eat meats was shown to be low.
On the flipside, fully cooked bacon and rotisserie chicken were shown to contain all five types of HCAs tested. Research says that rotisserie chicken skin actually showed the highest HCA levels, due to the fact that chicken skin contains more fat and protein -- and less moisture -- with HCA levels tending to increase as moisture decreases.
Similarly, researchers believe that the reasons for lower HCA content in ready-to-eat meat products may be because of the higher water content. Higher moisture levels prevent HCAs from forming, and ready-to-eat meats like deli products often have a water solution added. Researchers say foods like hot dogs and deli meats may also have lower HCAs because they are manufactured at low temperatures.
Moral of the story for chicken lovers: if you’re going to eat rotisserie chicken, tear off the skin, which researchers believe holds the most carcinogens.