Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that means parades, beach trips and, of course, barbecues. Hamburgers and hot dogs are two staples of the holiday, something that lots of folks look forward to. But what they may not be thinking about is that franks, wieners, dogs and burgers can cause bad breath.
Believe it or not, there’s research to back this up. Lots of research.
Nitrites: Hot dogs’ hidden cause of halitosis
Plenty of ink has already been spilled about nitrites and nitrates, which are two preservatives used in hot dogs, mainly to prevent botulism. If consumed in significant quantities, these compounds increase the risk of cancer and hypertension. However, they may also lead to hot dog breath.
In an article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and, in all seriousness, titled Haldane, Hot Dogs, Halitosis and Hypoxic Vasodilation, researchers explored how eating nitrite-laden hot dogs can increase the amount of nitric oxide in your blood, causing bad breath, among other things.
A separate study appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has a rundown of the complete odor spectrum, good and bad, emitted by frankfurters.
And if you think that academic articles only address the link between hot dogs and halitosis, you’re oh so wrong.
Hamburgers get raked over the coals, too
A newer study, this one published in the stern-sounding journal Radiation Physics and Chemistry, took a peek at the odor-causing compounds found in “ground beef added with garlic and red wine, and irradiated with charcoal pack.” (We’re pretty sure that means “grilled.”)
The research team concluded that adding garlic and red wine to beef made it smellier, and grilling it boosted the stink factor even further, with allyl methyl sulfide (a compound found in garlic) being the prime culprit for hamburger breath.
So, this Memorial Day, as you chow down on dogs and patties, remember to consider your vegetarian options, rinse with an oxygenating specialty mouthwash and drink plenty of water.
Have a safe and fun holiday!