Do Low Sodium Hot Dogs Exist? {advice from a registered dietitian}

Who doesn’t love a hot dog? It is an American classic whether you are at the ballpark or at a backyard BBQ. But, hot dogs are notoriously high in sodium. This may leave you wondering: do low sodium hot dogs exist?

A registered dietitian talks all things sodium and hot dogs!

*Please note that this post contains clearly identified affiliate links.  As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission on qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you).

Why Look For Low Sodium Hot Dogs?

Most hot dogs are surprisingly high in sodium. One hot dog can easily have 25% of the amount of sodium you should eat in an entire day!

Sodium & Health

Most of us are eating much more salt than we need. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than 2,300mg sodium per day. The average American is eating closer to 3,500mg. This is 1,000mg more sodium than we need!

All that sodium has serious health impacts. A high sodium diet can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and kidney stones. (1) There is even research showing a possible link between salt and Alzheimer’s disease and osteoporosis. (2) (3)

Remember, the goal is never a NO salt diet. Instead, it is important to eat a lot of really salty foods to stay in the recommended 2,300mg sodium per day.

Hog Sodium Sodium Comparison Chart

The amount of sodium in hot dogs can vary dramatically! Here is a comparison of sodium in some common hot dog brands.

Hot DogServing SizeSodium (mg)Saturated Fat (g)CholesterolProtein (g)Contains Potassium Additives?Contains Phosphorus Additives?
365 Uncured Beef Hot Dog 1 hot dog (76g)53074010NoNo
A&H Uncured Reduced Fat & Sodium Kosher Beef Hot Dogs1 hot dog (49g)2003.5308NoNo
Applegate Organic Uncured Turkey Hot Dogs1 hot dog (47g)4701307NoNo
Applegate Uncured Beef Hot Dogs1 hot dog (47g)4803.5507NoNo
Armour Classic Hot Dogs1 hot dog (43g)5504.5354YesYes
Ball Park Beed Bun Sized Franks1 hot dog (53g)4806306YesYes
Ball Park Classic Bun Sized Franks1 hot dog (53g)4804455YesYes
Bar-S Classic Frank1 hot dog (42g)4504.5305YesYes
Boar's Head Uncured Beef Frankfurters1 hot dog (57g)4406307NoNo
Eckrich Original Franks1 hot dog (42g)5203404YesYes
Hebrew National Beef Franks1 hot dog (49g)4805306NoNo
Kayem Lower Sodium Hot Dog1 hot dog (56g)4306306YesNo
Kirkland Beef Hot Dog1 hot dog (57g)5306348NoNo
Lightlife Plant Based Hot Dogs1 hot dog (43g)350008NoNo
Nathan's Famous Skinless Bun Length Frank1 hot dog (43g)4105205YesYes
Oscar Mayer Classic Original Uncured Wieners1 hot dog (45g)4003305NoYes
Oscar Mayer Turkey Hot Dog1 hot dog (45g)3802255NoNo
Sabrett Natural Casing Beef Frankfurters1 hot dog (47g)4706357YesNo
Simple Truth Uncured Chicken Hot Dogs1 hot dog (42g)3701.5406NoNo
Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Bun Length Hot Dogs*1 hot dog (45g)3203.5206NoNo
Trader Joe's Uncured Beef Hot Dogs1 hot dog (57g)3104.5309YesNo
Vienna Beef Franks1 hot dog (45g)3804256NoNo
Nutrition information collected February 2024 and is subject to change based on manufacturer modifications.

Are Low Sodium Hot Dogs Healthy?

Just because a hot dog is low sodium doesn’t necessarily make it a health food. There are some other ingredients to consider when choosing the right hot dog for you!

Saturated Fat

Hot dogs tend to have quite a bit of saturated fat because they are made from higher fat cuts of beef. Other foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Beef
  • Poultry with skin
  • Butter and lard
  • Baked goods made with butter
  • Ice cream

Eating too much saturated fat, especially from meat, is linked to heart disease and high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to about 13 grams per day. One hot dog has about 3 grams of saturated fat.

Image of top 3 recommended low sodium hot dogs: Trader Joe's uncured beef hot dogs, A&H reduced sodium hot dogs and Teton Waters Ranch Beef Hot Dogs

Phosphorus & Potassium Additives

Processed foods, like hot dogs, are notorious sources of phosphorus and potassium food additives. For most people, these ingredients don’t pose much harm for health.

It is a different story for people with kidney disease.

The phosphorus and potassium added to ultra-processed foods like hot dogs is much more absorbed. It is much preferred that people with kidney disease eat potassium and phosphorus from healthy plant foods, rather than from food additives most of the time. (4)

Natural food sources of potassium and phosphorus like whole grains, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables also have lots of things GOOD for your kidneys. They are packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and alkali to help control acid levels in kidney disease. Hot dogs are lacking in these beneficial nutrients.

Of course, this does NOT mean you can never have a hot dog again!

Purines

Like all processed meat, hot dogs have purines in them. Purines are converted to uric acid in our body. This is a concern for people with gout or uric acid kidney stones. (5)

The Best Low Sodium Hot Dogs

From all my hot dog research, I found three low sodium hot dogs to recommend. None of these hot dogs meet the technical criteria of less than 140mg sodium for a true low sodium food. But, these hot dogs have about 30% less sodium than most hot dogs.

Trader Joe’s Uncured Beef Hot Dogs have only 310mg sodium per hot dog. Although this is still a fair amount of sodium, it was the lowest sodium hot dog I could find. These hot dogs do have potassium food additives, which could be a concern if you have kidney disease. There are no phosphorus food additives.

Teton Waters Ranch 100% Grass-Fed Beef Bun Length Hot Dogs* may be a better choice for people with kidney disease. These hot dogs only have 320mg sodium per hot dog and do not have potassium or phosphorus food additives. You may be able to find these hot dogs at Whole Foods, Costco and some Kroger grocery stores. Here is a link to find a store near you!

A&H Uncured Reduced Fat & Sodium Kosher Beef Hot Dogs are also an option, but might be harder to find. These hot dogs only have 200mg sodium and no potassium or phosphorus additives.

How To Build a Healthy Hot Dog Meal

If you choose to enjoy a low sodium hot dog. DO IT! All foods can fit in a healthy diet.

Here are some tips to help keep that entire meal as low sodium as possible.

Tips for a Healthy Low Sodium Cookout Meal - choose a lower sodium hot dog, fill up on low sodium sides, choose a whole wheat bun, limit salty condiments

Consider a Whole Wheat Bun

Whole wheat buns will have a bit more fiber, vitamins and minerals compared to white buns.

Watch the Salty Condiments

Common hot dog toppings like ketchup, mustard and relish can easily add a few hundred extra milligrams of sodium to your hot dog. I recommend going with your favorite and using just a little!

Add chopped onion for a low sodium hot dog topping with NO sodium. Chopped tomatoes are also a tasty choice (a classic topping on Chicago dogs!).

Choose Low Sodium Sides

Most classic hot dog side dishes are packed with even more sodium, especially if they are from the deli.

For example, a 1/2 cup of classic deli macaroni salad can have nearly 800mg sodium. A 1/2 cup of classic creamy potato salad can have 700mg sodium.

Make your own low sodium macaroni or potato salad at home! Or, opt for a salad with oil & vinegar dressing. Fresh fruit is also always a fantastic low sodium side.

For potato chip lovers, try Lays Lightly Salted Potato Chips* – only 65mg sodium per 15 chips!

Happy Eating!

Melanie

7 thoughts on “Do Low Sodium Hot Dogs Exist? {advice from a registered dietitian}”

  1. leave off sauerkraut also loaded with. heinze makes a no salt ketchup….its awesome/
    also no salt cottage cheese,,,,add squirt of honey or sm. piece fresh fruit. awesome

  2. This was great but I won’t be able to find any of them in Canada. I’ll definitely be doing even more label reading. I’d love to have a hot dog from time to time. Thanks for putting this altogether.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      You are so welcome! It is hard to put these type of posts together with products available across the US – and certainly in different countries! Some of these might be available on Amazon!? But yes, ultimately low sodium eating ALWAYS comes down to reading food labels!

  3. Great Article, Thanks for the SODIUM CONTENT info. Always looking for great tasting
    recipes with LOW SODIUM content. I’m a “FOODIE” who has to adjust their life
    style due to Insulin diabetic / Kidney issues. Creatine 2.8 trying to stay away from
    DIALYSIS, while still enjoying flavorable recipes.

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