Eating hotdogs for pregnant women is safe as long as it’s cooked well and consumed in a limited amount. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises reheating the hotdog until it steams hot before eating. Processed foods are at a high risk of contamination with Listeria during their production and packing, and these bacteria can cause listeriosis that triggers gastrointestinal distress.
There are many unhealthy reasons why hotdogs are a terrible food choice. But it’s not wrong to treat yourself once in a while to satisfy your cravings, even during pregnancy.
Just follow proper preparation steps, meet the temperature requirement, and consume it sparingly to be on the safer side.
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How can I safely consume hotdogs while pregnant?
During pregnancy, moms need to eat a healthy and balanced diet, and it’s essential to support your and your baby’s proper growth.
The kind of food that you can have during pregnancy might be confusing.
I heard moms-to-be asking if they can eat spicy food while pregnant or maybe indulge in their cravings for hotdogs.
Hotdog is one of the go-to food that people like to enjoy.
And even pregnant moms can never spare hotdogs from being their comfort food, primarily through their bout with morning sickness.
Yes, you can eat hotdogs occasionally. Just keep in mind that, in all situations, proper food preparation is necessary to avoid food health risks.
Cook hotdogs at a temperature no lesser than 165⁰F (75⁰C).
You should thaw frozen products first to avoid undercooking them inside. Frying, grilling, or microwaving hotdogs until they are piping hot is a must, pregnant or not.
Serving hotdogs lukewarm or eating them raw is a no-no.
Who would want to eat raw hotdogs, by the way?
Some people believe that since most deli meats are cured, they are safe to eat raw, and the truth of the matter is that this belief is false.
Precooked food can still harbor bacteria and can cause potential health risks.
Additionally, some women may experience weird pregnancy cravings called pica, which drive them to eat regular food and non-food items.
It is not unusual if your cravings to entice you to eat a raw hotdog, but you should also consider its health risk.
The risks of eating processed foods during pregnancy
Nutritionists have long warned people about the negative health impact of processed foods.
Accordingly, these foods increase the risk of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Processed foods undergo production processes, altering their natural form to preserve their shelf-life.
Even packed and frozen fresh fruits and vegetables are considered minimally processed foods.
Processed foods rank from minimally to mostly processed. Deli meat, cold cuts, and wieners are “more heavily processed foods.”
It’s okay to consume hotdogs once in a while, but here are the risks it poses for you and your little one.
Cured meats and cold cuts are prone to bacterial contamination. Listeria monocytogenes often thrive in these foods, including soft cheeses.
Listeria infection, or listeriosis, in contaminated foods often affects pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and immune-compromised people.
Listeriosis can cause mild illness in pregnant women, manifesting flu-like symptoms and stomach disturbance.
However, the infection can affect unborn babies greatly, and it causes severe infection in the fetus that may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, or premature delivery.
Artificial ingredients and additives
Additives are added to foods to enhance their color, texture, odor, and flavor.
These ingredients may cause allergic reactions and increase the risk of specific cancer such as colorectal cancer.
Hotdogs are notoriously high in sodium nitrates, which curb the growth of Listeria monocytogenes.
In large amount, sodium nitrates can damage the blood vessels and risks heart disease.
Furthermore, the body’s build-up of sodium nitrates and nitrites may cause pre-term delivery. If you have pregnancy complications, the food you eat only increases its risks.
Lacking nutritional value
Processing does not only alter the form of foods but also strips them of their basic nutrients.
Processed meats like hotdogs are made from trimmings or leftovers from choice cuts of meat, and to enhance flavor, additives, spices, and other ingredients are added.
Instead of a healthy dose of protein in meat, hotdogs can give you sodium, fat, and preservatives. In other words, it does not have any health value.
These foods are harmful to you and your unborn baby when eaten regularly.
Another thing about processed foods is that they are designed to be addictive, stimulating the dopamine center in the brain to make us crave them even more.
When to worry about foodborne illness when pregnant?
Illnesses from food manifest gastrointestinal symptoms, and sometimes, you may mistake food poisoning as just another day of waging pregnancy sickness.
Here are a few of the symptoms that you should watch out for:
- Upset stomach
- Muscle aches
Foodborne illnesses show symptoms from one to three days after eating contaminated food.
If you are unsure you ate something bad or undercooked, reach out to your doctor right away. It’s essential to deal with the symptoms earlier before they can take a bad turn.
Are plant-based hotdogs safe when pregnant?
Regardless of its list of ingredients, the internal temperature is an important factor when eating hotdogs. So, whether it is organic, pure meat, or vegan, cook it to the optimum temperature to ensure it is safe.
Is it okay to eat cooked hotdogs that have been cooled?
Refrain from eating previously cooked hotdog that was left a while for too long. The rule is to eat them immediately while they are steaming hot.
Are hotdogs sold on the street not safe to eat while pregnant?
Yes, street foods are often cooked and left warm on display, and it still risks contamination, plus questionable sanitary practices during the preparation of street foods.
With all the bad rap about hotdogs and processed foods, it does not mean totally banning them from your diet. Treat yourself once in a while.
But, take everything in moderation and with limits, especially the highly processed ones. It’s a lot better to eat only the food you cook yourself to ensure it’s sanitary.
Eating for two during pregnancy tends to become complicated with too many limitations. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical and picky for the sake of your little one.
Food poisoning may sometimes have mild symptoms, but the unborn ones risk the consequences. Always be safe, eat healthy and sanitary, and eat unhealthy foods sparingly.