How Many Calories Are in a Hot Dog With and Without the Bun

How Many Calories Are in a Hot Dog With and Without the Bun

How Many Calories Are in a Hot Dog With and Without the Bun?

A hot dog is a type of sausage that can be grilled on any occasion. It has 120 calories without a bun and 314 calories with a bun.

You can serve a hot dog with or without a bun and customize it with various toppings.

Hot dogs have evolved since their introduction to U.S. cities. There are now more options available beyond mystery meat. They are a popular choice for summer meals in America, with consumers spending over $7.5 billion on hot dogs and sausages in 2021.

Hot dogs are commonly enjoyed at baseball parks, where they are even celebrated with hot dog mascots. They are the best-selling treat at games due to their convenience. In the 2020 season alone, baseball parks sold 19.4 million hot dogs.

The hot dog season in the U.S. spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with 10% of yearly sales occurring in July.

While hot dogs are delicious, it’s important to consider their health implications. They are processed meats that contain high levels of sodium and saturated fat. According to the American Cancer Society, consuming 50 grams of processed meat per day increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 16%.

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As a result, it is recommended to consume hot dogs in moderation, such as once or twice a month.

Hot Dog History

The hot dog’s history is a subject of debate. Ancient legends suggest the existence of sausage similar to hot dogs. Germany claims to be the birthplace of the hot dog, with Frankfurt and Vienna both competing for the origin.

The city of Frankfurt claims to have coined the term "frankfurter" in 1487. However, Vienna also claims that the name "wiener" for hot dogs originated in their city.

Regardless of its origin, hot dogs reached the United States, where a man began selling sausages from a pushcart in New York City in the 1860s. The first Coney Island hot dog stand was established in 1871, and hot dogs were introduced at baseball parks in 1893.

The exact origin of the term "hot dog" itself remains a mystery.

Hot Dog Calories with a Bun

A plain frankfurter on a white bun weighs 102 grams and contains 314 calories. It also provides 24.3 grams of carbohydrates, 18.6 grams of total fat, 719 milligrams of sodium, and 4.03 grams of sugar. A 100% whole-grain bun is a healthier alternative as it lacks the added sugar and sodium found in white buns.

When preparing hot dogs, it is essential to cook them to an internal temperature of 165°F, even if they are pre-cooked. This reduces the risk of bacterial infection, specifically from Listeria.

Hot Dog Calories without a Bun

A hot dog without a bun contains fewer calories compared to one with a bun. According to the USDA, a 57-gram beef and pork hot dog has 120 calories.

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If you want to avoid using a bun, you can wrap your hot dog in lettuce. Adding a 16-gram serving of lettuce only contributes 2.24 calories to your hot dog while providing fiber and potassium.

Hot Dog Toppings

Hot dog toppings vary depending on regional preferences. Here are some common condiments and their calorie content:

A 10-gram package of ketchup adds 10.1 calories, although some brands may contain added sugars. A teaspoon of mustard adds only 4.14 calories to your hot dog.

If you prefer adding nacho cheese, a 30-gram portion of nacho cheddar melt contains 80.1 calories. A 64-gram serving of chili has approximately 75.5 calories, which is a typical amount for a hot dog topping.

For healthier options, 30 grams of sauerkraut contributes just 11.7 calories and provides probiotics. A slice of onion adds 6 calories, while a packet of relish adds 11.7 calories.


What Are the Healthiest Hot Dogs?

Hot dogs can contain a significant amount of sodium and fat. All-beef hot dogs are commonly thought of as a healthier option, but excessive consumption of red meat can increase the risk of cancer. Chicken or turkey dogs are considered healthier alternatives. The American Institute of Cancer Research advises limiting red meat intake to 12-18 ounces per week.

Some hot dogs are labeled "cured," indicating the presence of synthetic nitrates or nitrites. These compounds act as preservatives but may form cancer-causing nitrosamines in the body. Uncured hot dogs can still contain natural nitrates, so it’s crucial to read packaging carefully.

Veggie dogs are another choice, typically made from processed plant-based ingredients such as soy, peas, and wheat gluten. While they may have fewer calories and saturated fat, they can still be high in sodium.

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Hot Dog vs. Hamburger Calories

When comparing a plain hot dog to a plain hamburger on a white bun, the hot dog has fewer calories. A 145-gram hamburger on a white bun contains 418 calories, whereas the hot dog on a white bun has 314 calories.

The hamburger provides more protein (25.4 grams) compared to the hot dog (11.4 grams). However, the hot dog has higher sodium content (719 milligrams) than the hamburger (515 milligrams).

The hamburger is also richer in various nutrients:

It’s important to consider additional toppings when assessing the calorie count of either option.

Alternatives to Hot Dog Buns

If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional hot dog buns, consider the following options:

  • Flour tortilla wrap
  • Corn tortilla shell
  • Pretzel bun
  • Hawaiian roll
  • Lettuce, such as romaine or iceberg
  • Crescent roll

If none of these choices appeal to you, you can always cut up your hot dog and incorporate it into a casserole or enjoy it alongside baked beans.

Hot Dogs as Occasional Snacks

Now that you have a better understanding of hot dog calories and toppings, you can make informed choices about how to enjoy them. It is advisable to consume hot dogs occasionally to minimize calorie, sugar, and sodium intake. Avoiding the bun reduces the calorie count, making lettuce wraps a healthier option.

Sources: American Cancer Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, Consumer Reports, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, U.S. Department of Agriculture


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