Declaration of Independence from Deadly Dogs

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Declaration of Independence from Deadly Dogs

By Dr. Neal Barnard, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
July 2013

Each year, colorectal cancer kills more than 50 thousand people in the United States. That’s the equivalent of the entire population of Coney Island. Processed meats, like hot dogs, have been so strongly linked to colorectal cancer that no amount is considered safe for consumption. Even one hot dog per day can raise your risk of colorectal cancer 21 percent.

Last 4th of July at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, Joey Chestnut won the contest by eating 68 hot dogs. But what did he win, exactly? 20 thousand dollars—and 20 thousand calories, 400 grams of saturated fat, 48 thousand milligrams of sodium, and an increased risk of colorectal cancer.

Even Americans who aren’t gorging themselves for money will eat 155 million hot dogs on the 4th of July alone. On a day when we celebrate our independence as a country, we should also declare independence from unhealthful cultural fads. Many people get together with family and friends in celebration, not realizing that what they put on the grill can have a lasting impact on their loved ones.

With the 50 thousand victims of colorectal cancer in mind, maybe this year Nathan’s Famous should switch to veggie dogs, and the winner should donate a portion of their prize money to preventing cancer. Improving the future health of our nation is something truly worth celebrating.



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