Grilling those delicious franks in your backyard might seem like the perfect get together! But if you are on the low carb diet, you may be wondering whether it’s SAFE to have hot dogs on Keto.
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Are hot dogs keto friendly?
A typical hot dog contains 3g of net carbs (without bun) and hence they are keto-friendly. One can fit 2-3 hot dogs in a day on the ketogenic diet without any bun or high-carb dressings.
Avoid accompaniments like ketchup, relish, and sauerkraut and instead, go for mustard or some pickles to enjoy your BBQ cookout. Keep reading for a detailed answer and the best ways to enjoy hot dogs on your low carb diet.
Hot Dogs Nutrition Facts
We must at first understand the nutrition profile of a hot dog in order to accurately answer “Are hot dogs keto?”
A hot dog is a grilled or steamed food consisting of a wiener placed between a slit bun. But generally the wiener or frankfurter is itself referred to as hot dogs. Hot dogs can be made of literally any type of meat. They are generally made with leftovers of the same type of meat that makes ground meat, meat steaks or roasts.
(These are actually the meat pieces that are rejected as steaks because they lack certain qualities like softness or shape or size.)
The trimmings are neatly chopped and ground up that gives it a smooth and uniform look. Then they add some salt to make the mixture stickier and the proteins stick to each other. And finally, they add water to the mix to finish the process.
Nitrites are also added in the mix to give a specific color and flavor to the sausages, along with protection from certain bacteria. Other than these basic procedures, companies add a whole lot of flavoring agents and preservatives that are brand specific.
As per Nutrition Data, a 5” long frankfurter weighing 45g has the following nutritional values:
- Calories: 148
- Fats: 13.3
- Protein: 5.1g
- Net Carbs: 2.1g
This info relates to the generic hot dogs sold out there but the specifics vary with each brand. Always look at the nutritional label when shopping for frankfurters.
Hot dogs are quite an inexpensive source of protein. However, they are in no way a health food as they are very high in saturated fats. We have discussed more on this further in this article.
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Are Hot Dogs Keto Approved?
Since they are packed with protein and fats, most people assume that sausages are always low-carb.
We know that cured meats like sausages, deli meat, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, or bacon are generally keto, but saying that all of the frankfurters in the market are low-carb would be an understatement!
Hidden Sources of Carbs
Since hot dogs are made up of ground meats, the present extra carbs majorly come from eggs or other binding agents like flour or breadcrumbs that also enhance the flavor and prevent the sausage from being very crumbly.
Some of these binders can be gluten, soy flour, wheat flour, and corn syrup. A mere 2 tbsp serving of corn syrup contains 30g of carbs that can quickly throw you out of keto!
A whole lot of spices go into making your favorite frankfurter, but some brands go a step further and use additives like fruit, sugar, or even some carb-laden dairy products. Always scan the ingredient label for any type of binding agents or flavoring items.
Go for a no sugar added product even if it is just artificial sugar. It’s always a good policy to avoid as much artificial foods you can!
When buying processed meats on keto, you need to be careful about a few details. Don’t just limit your study to the ingredients tab, as you also need to check the net carbs, sugar count, and whether or not it’s gluten-free.
The standard ketogenic diet requires you to eat less than 30g of carbs per day. Since a wiener generally has 3g net carbs, it’s safe to say that it is quite keto friendly when enjoyed in a limit.
The main reasons I include hot dogs in my keto diet include affordability, availability, and the fact that they can be enjoyed with the whole family!
Can You Eat Wiener Regularly on Keto
Hot dogs and other processed foods are generally feared upon by health professionals, given their low nutrition levels and the way they are manufactured.
They are quite high in saturated fats as well as sodium. A single sausage can contain up to 700 mg of sodium, which is something to worry about.
Eating sausages and hot dogs regularly can do much more than just raising your cholesterol or blood pressure. Processed meats like bacon, cold cuts, sausages or wieners can induce a greater risk for colorectal cancer. That is the reason why hot dogs on keto are feared upon.
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Presence of Nitrates
Another downside to hotdogs is the presence of Nitrates. These are preservatives generally derived from synthetic materials, that enhance the colors and shelf life of the frankfurters. Nitrates turn into nitrites when digested, which have been linked to cancer in some studies.
Sodium nitrite in particular prevents botulism food poisoning and is responsible for the red color found in wieners. At high temperatures of cooking, nitrite can react with other compounds in meat to form nitrosamines and nitrosamides, which have been linked with cancer.
Luckily, most companies now add sodium erythorbate (a type of vitamin C) in the mixture to prevent such reaction and minimize risk. Other companies like Oscar Mayer are completely doing away with such artificial preservatives and compounds.
Another cause of concern for regular hot dog eaters are “empty calories!” These hot dogs made from leftover meats contain much lesser nutrients than the original cuts of that meat. Since you are already restricted by the number of carbs each day, filling up all your quota with hot dogs leave little to no scope for nutritious veggies!
Hot dogs shouldn’t be eaten on a regular basis, whether following keto or any other diet. But you can have an occasional indulgence sometimes to break the monotony and spice up your diet!
Whether it’s beef, pork, chicken or a turkey wiener, choose the one (38-40 grams) with no more than 3g of saturated fat and less than 400 mg of sodium. I would always go for 100% grass-fed links that are uncured and free from nitrites, MSG, and gluten.
Embrace FAUX Buns
Since Keto strictly prohibits buns, there is a smart workaround available to not feel “weird” eating just the wiener, and that’s called a faux bun.
With the help of almond flour, cheese, and eggs you can create something that taste almost like a bun to enjoy along with those franks! Check out the MamaBears recipe to make your own faux buns in less than 20 minutes. A regular white hot dog bun has 24 g net carbs, where as you can enjoy a Keto bun with less than 4g net carsb!
AVOID These Hot Dog Blunders
Before you head on to the supermarket looking for those wieners, make sure you go through these guidelines:
- Avoid any sugar sugar-packed hot dogs.
- If the label has a ton of ingredients, it isn’t really good for you as it might be packed with lots of artificial stuff.
- When going for beef, avoid sources that aren’t grass-fed.
- If it has gluten as a binding agent, you are better off without it!
After choosing the right hot dogs, pay equal attention to the dressings and accompaniments you are having! Stick to mustard or mayo as these are the standard Keto dressings whereas ketchup could be too high in carbs.
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Are Nathan’s Hot Dogs Keto Friendly?
Nathan’s Skinless Beef Franks have 1g of net carbs per frank, which makes it a great Keto snack! It is also accompanied by 5g of protein and 12g of fats.
The company claims that their franks are 100% beef with no artificial flavors, they are dairy free, gluten free and sugar free as well.
Are Ballpark Hot Dogs Keto?
Ball Park Prime Beef Franks has a serving size of a whopping 72 grams. One frank contains 2g of net carbs along with 20g fat, 9g protein, and 230 calories. They are also free from added nitrates and artificial colors.
So it’s safe to say that they are quite keto friendly. However, you need to be careful of portion sizes as the calories can quickly add up!
Are hot dogs keto friendly?
Since a wiener on average has 3g of net carbs, it’s safe to say that hot dogs are quite Keto friendly. You can easily have 2 hot dogs in a day and still have plenty of carbs quota left. Avoid condiments like ketchup, relish, and sauerkraut and swap them with low-carb options.
For a more satisfying meal, you can use “faux” bun or lettuce in place of the original bun.