The Healthiest And Unhealthiest Store-Bought Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are a grilling mainstay, and when compared with a cheese-covered burger or a juicy bratwurst, a standard-sized hot dog can actually be a healthier option, believe it or not. 

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They cook quickly too, meaning you can have lunch or dinner on the table in a snap. But not all hot dogs are created equal, and some pack far more fat, calories and sodium into the casing than others. These are the healthiest and unhealthiest hot dogs.

All beef: Healthiest: Organic Valley Organic Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs

Calories: 130
Fat: 11 grams
Sodium: 370 milligrams
Cholesterol: 30 milligrams

Organic Valley Organic Uncured Grass-Fed Beef Hot Dogs don't contain any additives. They're made of organic grass-fed beef, water, sea salt, organic spices, organic garlic powder, organic onion powder and cultured celery juice powder. Go the extra mile with these sausages and bake your own buns to serve them in.

All beef: Unhealthiest: Ball Park Beef Franks

Calories: 180
Fat: 15 grams
Sodium: 510 milligrams
Cholesterol: 30 milligrams

Ball Park Beef Franks are made of much more than beef. In fact, corn syrup is listed as the third ingredient. There are also scary-sounding ingredients like potassium lactate, sodium phosphate and sodium diacetate — but don't worry, they're just flavor enhancers and preservatives and safe to eat. One thing to be aware of, however, is the sodium content of this hot dog — 510 milligrams. Processed foods with lots of salt are one of the foods that are putting your blood pressure through the roof.

Low fat: Healthiest: Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks

Calories: 45
Fat: 1 gram
Sodium: 490 milligrams
Cholesterol: 15 milligrams

Hebrew National 97% Fat Free Beef Franks are primarily kosher beef, water and modified potato starch, which is used to add stability, texture or viscosity. The hot dogs contain no artificial flavors, artificial colors or animal by-products. When shopping for low-fat products, realize they may rely on fillers — like potato starch — to keep the calorie count low. While the nutrition facts seem promising, these products can be among those so-called healthy foods you may want to avoid.

Low fat: Unhealthiest: Ball Park Lean Beef Franks

Calories: 80
Fat: 5 grams
Sodium: 480 milligrams
Cholesterol: 20 milligrams

Ball Park Lean Beef Franks are primarily beef, water and modified corn starch, but they also include corn syrup, sodium phosphate and sodium diacetate; they're nitrate-free. If you're on a low-fat diet, this may not be the best option, given one hot dog still has 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 20 milligrams of cholesterol. 

Mixed meat: Healthiest: Applegate Naturals Stadium Beef and Pork Hot Dog

Calories: 110
Fat: 9 grams
Sodium: 360 milligrams
Cholesterol: 30 milligrams

Applegate Naturals Stadium Beef and Pork Hot Dogs are made mostly of beef, pork and water. Other than that, it's spices and the lamb casing. A good casing gives hot dogs that classic snap, which is one of those restaurant secrets home cooks should know.

Mixed meat: Healthiest: Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners

Calories: 110
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 420 milligrams
Cholesterol: 12 milligrams

Oscar Mayer Classic Uncured Wieners contain mechanically separated chicken and turkey, but they have relatively low amounts of fat and cholesterol for this type of dog. These franks have roughly the same calorie count — 110 — as a boneless, skinless chicken breast, another food that is great on the grill.

Mixed meat: Unhealthiest: Kayem Beef and Pork Hot Dogs

Calories: 140
Fat: 13 grams
Sodium: 430 milligrams
Cholesterol: 25 milligrams

Kayem Beef and Pork Hot Dogs have more fat than some of the other mixed meat hot dog options, as well as more cholesterol. They also have added ingredients, including corn syrup, potassium lactate and dextrose, a sugar. Save that sugar intake for tasty frozen fruit desserts.

Turkey: Healthiest: Applegate Naturals Turkey Hot Dog

Calories: 70
Fat: 3.5 grams
Sodium: 450 milligrams
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams

Applegate Naturals Turkey Hot Dogs contain 98% turkey and water; the other ingredients are salt, paprika, onion, garlic, cardamom, coriander, mace, ginger, black pepper, celery juice powder and cherry powder for flavor. Pair these turkey dogs with some pasta salad, green salad or other cold dishes perfect for hot summer days.

Turkey: Healthiest: Oscar Mayer Turkey Uncured Franks

Calories: 100
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 380 milligrams
Cholesterol: 8 milligrams

Oscar Mayer Turkey Uncured Franks have just 100 calories per hot dog, which leaves plenty of room in your diet for other great grilled dishes. If you're following a low-sodium or low-cholesterol diet, these are also a good option with 380 milligrams of sodium and just 8 milligrams of cholesterol.

Turkey: Unhealthiest: Ball Park Turkey Franks

Calories: 110
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 540 milligrams
Cholesterol: 35 milligrams

Ball Park Turkey Franks are loaded with sodium. While the main ingredient is mechanically separated turkey, these franks do contain beef stock. The sodium sent this turkey dog to the bottom of our health ranking. If you are watching your salt intake and trying to improve your eating habits, these healthy recipes and tips from a doctor will make nutritious eating a cinch.

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