Food Showdown: Burgers or Dogs?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This Fourth of July, the odds are high that someone will ask you the classic American question: Hamburger or hot dog? These two cookout staples are equally tasty, hearty and nostalgic, but what about the calories? Is one more waistline-friendly than the other? Today, we put the debate to rest.

When choosing an entrée hot off the grill this Fourth of July, which should you choose to keep your weight in check: A hamburger or a hot dog?

The Winner: Hot Dog!
First of all, let's be clear: There are many different varieties of hamburgers and hot dogs out there. Both burgers and dogs vary dramatically in their nutritional stats depending on the brand and the amount of toppings you pile on. However, on average, a two-ounce beef hot dog clocks in at 180 calories and 17 grams of fat, whereas a four-ounce hamburger patty contains 290 calories and 22 grams of fat. (Note that these stats do not include buns or toppings.)

Also keep in mind that since hot dogs tend to be smaller than burgers, many people don't stop at just one dog. If you do choose a hot dog, go easy on the toppings and round out your meal with a big side of fresh fruit salad to fill you up before you can think about chowing down on a second dog. Additionally, read your labels: Many hot dogs are packed full of chemicals and preservatives. Look for packages that say ''nitrite and nitrate-free.'' (Check out this article to get the low-down on hot dog ingredients.) As an alternative to beef dogs, try a turkey hot dog or a veggie hot dog—both are only 45 calories for a two-ounce serving. Click here for more tips on how to make better cookout choices this summer. Have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!

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SES823 7/7/2021
YAY! Report
DEE107 5/26/2021
thanks Report
Interesting. Report
thanks Report
Too much salt in hot dogs. I'll take the burger any time. Report
We don't even eat hot dogs...I'd rather have real food. Report
Shame - I can't *stand* the taste of hot dogs.......makes one wonder just what is *in* that stuff :( :( :( Report
How bout one of each and leave off the bun? Report
Hebrew National makes a 97% Fat Free Hot Dog, I have not checked the sodium content, but Hebrew National is a very good brand, as far as hot dogs go. Those are pretty much the only hot dogs I will eat. Report
I love Morning Star's black bean burger, EXCEPT for the sodium. Are companies ever going to learn to let the consumer add salt?

Due to high blood pressure concerns, I no longer add salt to any food. (just weaned myself off my last two hold-outs, eggs & avocados).

I try to eat mostly fresh foods, and when I have a processed food now, it's way too salty.

I really wish food manufacturers would realize what people need, and not what they want to make. Report
Well i'll just stick to a All Beef hot dag, they don't tare up/ or cause husbands stomach to have problems like acid build up like the turkey, chicken pork mixed hot dogs that are on the market now a days. and a cheeseburger is always nice once in a while to. Report
Good old fashioned hamburger for me !!! Report
This blog post brought to you by Oscar Mayer! Report
Neither, thanks. Report
I love veggie or turkey burgers, I just don't have the bun. I do love hot dogs, but don't eat them, anymore. Report
Yum... love veggie dogs :) Report
LOL, I just read this article in HuffPost Healthy Living, by a Master's Degree level registered dietitian Kerri-Ann Jennings, who is the editor of Eating Well Magazine, asking which is healthier, hot dogs or hamburgers. By her analysis the hamburger wins, hands down! She compared the two according to roughly 300 calorie portions. The hamburger was a significant source of protein, iron, and zinc and the hotdog was described as a "sodium bomb." If the only reason the hot dog is considered "waistline-friendly" is because it is half the size, then why not make your hamburger with a 2 oz. patty?
The article was interesting, comparing a single serving of each item. Obvious sodium and protein cannot be compared because it changes amongst brands of ground beef and hot dogs. Oscar Mayer makes a strong variety in flavors. Their chicken breast hot dog has only 80 calories per dog. Their Light Beef hot dog has only 90 calories. Oscar Mayer classic beef has only 130 calories. My favor dog, Oscar Mayer Jalapeno & Cheddar, has 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein, and 480 mg of sodium. There is no reason to not know what is in a hot dog as it is printed on the label. Oscar Mayer publishes their hot dog's nutritional information on their web page. Report
Everyone else has picked up on the obvious: 4 oz hamburger vs. 4 oz hot dog.
Hamburger is meat whereas a hot dog contains loads of sodium and preservatives which we really don't need. Read Labels!!!
I agree with my other Sparkers--big UNFAIR, uneven playing field. I did a lot of research in college and I can't recall any rules of statistical analysis that would permit the comparison of two ounces of one meat with four ounces of another. Four ounces of hot dog is 360 calories and 34 grams of fat--way worse than the hamburger's 290 cals and 22 grams of fat! Plus the hot dog (and other processed meats) are full of sodium and potentially carcinogenic nitrates. The Hamburgs rule! Ever read the book "How to Lie with Statistics?" Melinda Hershey--you done us wrong! 40 lashes with a boiled wiennie! Report
Hmmmm, these comparison articles don't seem to be really comparing things equally. Hamburgers are pure food, hot dogs aren't usually. Ounce wise they aren't equal and if they were, the hamburger would win. I usually eat my hot dog w/out a bun. I put plenty of veggies like onions, tomato, lettuce, pickles or make other fancy ones when I eat a burger. I just can't see how a hot dog could possibly be better than a burger.

rumbamel Report
Give me ribs forget the dogs and burgers. Report
I always prefer the hamburger but only if it is homemade. And if I really get to pick my favourite it would be a turkey burger. Report
I prefer the hamburger. The buns are usually close in calories, but 1 burger would fill me up nicely. Hot dogs I would have 2 buns, and 2 pieces of "meat" which would put me way over the calorie cost of 1 burger.

When talking about chemicals and additives in hotdogs, turkey, chicken and veggie dogs are no better than traditional dogs. Report
BOOOOOOO! Never could take the "taste" of hot dogs very well, although I have had the occasional one......seems so YECKY to my palate....... Report
Every once in awhile a hot dog tastes great. I consider it an indulgence, and nice to know it doesn't break the calorie bank. But all the posts here are great, healthier alternatives.
In my house a hotdog does not qualify as food! Highly processed, not sure what's in it. It is not just about the calories, it is about the quality of the calories! Report
my choice would be the hamburger it is lower in sodium and fat Report
Clearly you have a bias toward hotdogs. Hamburger is the better deal when comparing similar quantities. Report
Veggie kebabs, thanks! Report
I'll pass on the hot dog, the sodium will blow me up like a balloon! Report
Come on! Do the math! One 2 oz hotdog is less than a 4 oz hamburger? Well two 2 oz hotdogs - for the same 4 oz serving of meat would then be a total of 360 calories - plus I noticed you coincidently left out how much extra sodium and chemicals you'd be eating. These days, the cures in hotdog used in processing will give me a major heartburn - even a half of one hot dog (1 ox). I can do without the pain, and I really prefer the taste of turkey burgers!! Go figure... Report
Was this a pop quiz for label reading skills? Ounce for ounce, the burger is lower in calories and fat, and since a person probably prepares and seasons it, it is easy to customize the ingredients, seasonings, and serving size. Report
I agree with Towhee. Immediately I noticed the difference in portion size! (2 ounce hot dog vs. 4 ounce hamburger) Well, duh! The hot dog SHOULD be less! Report
Veggie burgers for me :) always a better choice than regular burgers or hot dogs! Report
Talk about "the reader beware"! If we compared the same portion size (the blogger admits that most people won't stop at one dog). Then the hot dog serving becomes 360 calories and 34 grams of fat!

My question is what are the protein and sodium values for these two choices? Calories and fat should not be the only considerations.
My choice would be a Turkey Burger over any kind of hotdog, even a turkey hot dog; too high in sodium for me. Report