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.
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.
Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr