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Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Hot dogs have been under attack because of their inclusion of sodium nitrites, a questionable additive that’s also used in many luncheon meats, ham, and other cured meat products. This additive prevents botulism, food poisoning, and gives a reddish color to the products it’s used in.

• Nitrites in large doses can be toxic, but they’re used in very, very small quantities in hot dogs. The real concern is not about nitrites themselves, but that they can form, in the cooking process, nitrosomes, which in large amounts have proved to be cancer causing.

• Confusing? Well, even the experts trying to determine the safety of this additive are divided on the issue. I think it’s reasonable to limit our consumption of foods containing sodium nitrite.

• Hot dogs once a week, I think, aren’t a problem, however, bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, ham for dinner, and beef jerky for snacks might well constitute one.

• A better reason to avoid serving hot dogs is their high fat content; the average hot dog is 29% by weight, and the high fat content in the American diet contributes to heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States.

Vicki Lansky’s practical, common sense approach to parenting is familiar to millions throughout the world. Vicki’s first book, Feed Me, I’m Yours, published in 1974, and still one of the most popular baby/toddler food cookbooks in the country, was followed by The Taming of the C.A.N.D.Y. Monster, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Her other titles include: Toilet Training, Birthday Parties Best Party Tips & Ideas For Ages 1-8, Dear Babysitter Handbook, Welcoming Your Second Baby, Getting Your Child to Sleep … and Back to Sleep, Trouble-free Travel with Children, Baby Proofing Basics and Games Babies Play From Birth to Twelve Months, Koko Bear’s New Potty, A New Baby at Koko Bear’s House, Koko Bear and the New Babysitter, and Koko Bear’s Big Earache. Vicki Lansky’s Divorce Book for Parents: Helping Children Cope with Divorce and Its Aftermath

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