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  2. Jun 11, 2024

Joey Chestnut Promotes Vegan Hot Dogs Instead of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs

man eats hotdog
Photo: Getty Images

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will return this July 4 without Joey Chestnut, who won the contest 16 times, including last year when he ate 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Chestnut signed a deal with Impossible Foods, which has a vegan hot dog, and will no longer promote Nathan's Hot Dogs.

In the contest, participants gorge on hot dogs, a processed meat that increases the risk of colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even early death. Americans will eat an estimated 7 billion hot dogs this summer—150 million on July 4 alone, according to National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.

It’s a dangerous trend. The World Health Organization has determined that processed meat is a major contributor to colorectal cancer, classifying it as “carcinogenic to humans.” Just 50 grams—about one hot dog—consumed daily increases colorectal cancer risk by 18%.

In 2024, there will be an estimated 152,810 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States and an estimated 53,010 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Research shows there has been a dramatic increase in colorectal cancer rates in children, teens, and young adults

Hot dogs and other processed meat are also linked to cardiovascular disease and death, according to a recent study. Researchers reviewed food intake records from more than 100,000 participants in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) Study and compared heart disease and mortality with meat consumption. Those who ate more than 150 grams of processed meat per week increased their risk of heart disease and death by 46% and 51%, respectively, when compared to those who did not eat processed meat.

Even just one hot dog can be hazardous to your health. Eating a hot dog takes away 36 minutes of healthy life (good-quality and disease-free life) according to a recent study that evaluated more than 5,800 foods and ranked them by their nutritional disease burden.

But research shows that replacing just 50 grams of processed meat per week—about a hot dog—with fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.

So ditch the hot dog for a carrot dog this Fourth of July. Or try a portobello burger. Research shows that replacing a daily serving of red or processed meat with one serving of mushrooms lowers the risk of dying from any cause.

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