Hot dogs are a classic American treat and staple of baseball games and the Fourth of July, but you should limit your intake of hot dogs due to their high fat content and lack of nutrients. You'll find 120 calories in a hot dog and 100 calories in one 47-gram bun, along with a high percentage of fat.
Read more: Cracking Down on Fake Meat: Are the Impossible and Beyond Burgers Healthier Than Real Beef?
Hot Dog Calories
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one 57-gram branded hot dog containing beef, pork and sea salt offers 120 calories. You'll also find the following nutrients:
- 11 grams of protein
- 8 grams of total lipid fats, 13 percent of your recommended daily value (RDV)
- 370 milligrams of sodium, 16 percent of your RDV
- 34.8 milligrams of cholesterol, 12 percent of your RDV
- 3 grams of total saturated fat, 15 percent of your RDV
Based on the above, hot dogs don't offer the heart-healthiest protein option. However, you will find trace amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, IU, vitamin C, calcium and iron.
For hot dog buns, the USDA says one 47-gram hot dog bun contains 100 calories, 4 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrates (7 percent of your RDV) and 170 milligrams of sodium. The bun also offers trace amounts of vitamin C, iron, fiber and total lipid fats. The ingredients in a typical hot dog bun include enriched wheat flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast.
Together, a hot dog and bun contain 220 calories. This includes more than 200 milligrams of sodium and 15 grams of protein.
Most people choose to add classic condiments to their hot dogs, which ups the total calories in this entrée. Extra calories that typical toppings can add, according to the USDA, include:
Making a Healthier Hot Dog
To cut the calories in a hot dog and bun, you can try substitutions. With the growing popularity of plant-based meals and people looking for meat alternatives, you have options when grocery shopping. Such ideas include the following:
Use healthy cheese instead of high-fat types. Sprinkling mozzarella over the top of a hot dog can provide health benefits. According to the Dairy Council of California, 1 ounce of mozzarella contains less calories and half the fat of the more popular hot dog cheese toppings: American and cheddar. Also, mozzarella offers 7 grams of protein, only 1 gram of carbohydrate and has more calcium than American, cheddar and Parmesan cheese.
Switch to low-carb hot dog buns. You can find these at the grocery store or you can choose to eat your hot dog without a bun and save 20 grams of carbs. If you want to add more produce to your diet, you can wrap the hot dog in lettuce and create your own hot dog wrap.
Substitute a smoked turkey dog for a beef hot dog. You can find these in grocery stores. For example, the Ball Park brand of smoked turkey dogs contains only 45 calories , no fat, 5 carbs, 2 grams of sugar and 15 milligrams of cholesterol per frankfurter.
This 100 percent white turkey meat product also doesn't have artificial colors, flavors or byproducts. Plus, according to a July 2018 article from Consumer Reports, a turkey dog must contain real turkey and no more than 3.5 percent of nonmeat binders or fillers.
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Hot Dog”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Hot Dog Bun”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Ketchup”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Pickle Relish, Hamburger”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Mustard, Prepared, Yellow”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Dijon Mustard”
- United States Department of Agriculture: “Chili Cheese”
- Ball Park Brand: "Smoked Turkey Dogs"
- Dairy Council of California: "Nutrients in Cheese"
- Consumer Reports: "What Makes a Healthy Hot Dog"