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The Physicians Committee

NEWS RELEASE February 27, 2002

Hot Dogs Are Offal

Doctors Prescribe Veggie Dogs

WASHINGTON—In light of new findings that frequent consumption of hot dogs and other processed meats is associated with a significant increase in the risk of diabetes, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) today called on sports stadiums, movie theaters, grocery chains, and convenience stores to do their part to promote good health in Americans by promoting vegetarian hot dogs, rather than the usual meat-product variety.

A scientific report published in Diabetes Care in March 2002 showed that in a group of 42,504 health professionals, consuming hot dogs, bacon, salami, or sausage two to four times per week increased the risk of diabetes by 35 percent. Consuming these products five or more times per week increased risk by nearly 50 percent.

A typical "all beef" hot dog derives nearly 60 percent of its calories from fat and contains about 40 milligrams of cholesterol, making it a contributor to the dietary pattern that encourages not only diabetes, but also obesity, heart disease, and other health risks.

"A frankfurter is not 'All-American’ and never was. But the diseases promoted by this kind of food have become All-American epidemics," said PCRM president Neal D. Barnard, M.D.

Meatless hot dogs, made of soy or other vegetarian ingredients, are now readily available—some brands are even owned by meat companies that have seen the need to diversify. They taste very similar to the meat varieties, and many have no fat or cholesterol at all.

"When parents buy their kids meat hot dogs, they are encouraging the eating pattern that leads to obesity and health problems down the road," Dr. Barnard said. "Parents should always demand the vegetarian choice for the sake of their kids."

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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