Rethinking Healthcare

A healthier frankfurter that still tastes good? Hot-dog!

A healthier frankfurter that still tastes good? Hot-dog!

Posting in Food

Replacing saturated fats with runny oils has yet to producer a worthy wiener. Health nuts rejoice: food scientists have found that unsaturated fats paired with cellulose can give hot dogs a satisfying texture with less artery-clogging risks.

What's the most satisfying part of a hot dog? Maybe it's that magical combination of texture and flavor -- uniformly supple meat with a salty greasy taste. But that flavor and texture come at a cost to your health.

beef + saturated fat = yummy but unhealthy hot dog

beef + oil = healthier but leathery hot dog

Saturated fat consumption raises your risk for cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. For this reason oils (unsaturated fats) can offer a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, replacing hard saturated fats with runny oils in frankfurters has yet to producer a worthy wiener.

Scientific American reports that Canadian researchers have uncovered a new hotdog formula:

beef + (oil with ethyl cellulose) = healthier and yummy hot dog

Ethyl cellulose molecules add a scaffolding to the oil, giving it a firmer structure. Test subjects rated the cellulose hot dogs as equal in chewiness and hardness to traditional hot dogs.

The new hot dogs aren't diet foods by any measure, they still contain as much net fat as old-fashioned frankfurters. What they do offer is a less artery-clogging way to get your full hot dog satisfaction. The research team hopes to replicate this technology in other saturated fat-dependent foods.

[via Scientific American]

Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr

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Audrey Quinn

Contributing Writer

Audrey Quinn is a Brooklyn-based multimedia journalist focused on health, tech and the economy. Her radio stories can be heard on Marketplace, Studio 360, PRI's The World, NPR's Latino USA, Deutsche Welle Radio and The Believer Magazine podcast. In addition to her work with CBS Interactive she produces multimedia science stories for online publications and is a teaching assistant at the Transom Story Workshop. Her investigative work has been awarded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure