According to new research, children who consume over a dozen hot dogs a month are nine times more likely to develop leukemia. Leukemia is a blood cancer where the bone marrow and other blood-forming organs produce increased numbers of immature or abnormal leukocytes. These suppress the production of normal blood cells, leading to anemia and other symptoms.
It all has to do with nitrates. Nitrates are used to preserve meat so that it has a longer shelf life.
According to Fooducate, nitrates also do the following:
They maintain the pinkish meat coloration. Without them, the meat would appear grayish.
They add a characteristic flavor.
They ward off against Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria responsible for botulism, which is a dangerous disease that causes respiratory and muscular paralysis.