Shedding light on why it is so 'tough' to make healthier hot dogs

December 7, 2011

In part of an effort to replace animal fat in hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers and other foods with healthier fat, scientists are reporting an advance in solving the mystery of why hot dogs develop an unpleasant tough texture when vegetable oils pinch hit for animal fat. A report on their study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Anna M. Herrero and colleagues explain that some brands of sausage (frankfurters) have been reformulated with olive oil-in-water emulsion as a source of more healthful fat. With consumers gobbling up tens of billions of hot dogs annually, and the typical frankfurter packing 80 percent of its calories from fat, hot dogs have become a prime candidate for reformulation. Some hot dogs reformulated with vegetable oil develop an unpleasant chewy texture. Herrero's team set out to uncover the chemistry behind that change with an eye to guiding food companies to optimize low-fat sausage manufacture.

Using a laboratory instrument called an (IR spectrometer) they verified that sausages made with heart-healthy olive oil-in-water emulsion stabilized with casein were slightly tougher. However, when frankfurters were elaborated with an emulsion stabilized with a combination of casein and microbial transglutaminase (to help the oil blend in better) the sausage became much tougher. The IR spectrometer revealed that the proteins and fats in low-fat cooked derivates formulated with this stabilizer system as animal fat replacer showed weak lipid-protein interactions, which implies more physical entrapment of the emulsion within the meat matrix. This fact could explain why those sausages are tougher than the others.

Explore further: Red pepper: Hot stuff for fighting fat?

More information: Infrared Study of Structural Characteristics of Frankfurters Formulated with Olive Oil-in-Water Emulsions Stabilized with Casein As Pork Backfat Replacer, J. Agric. Food Chem., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/jf203941b

Abstract
This article reports an infrared spectroscopic (FT-IR) study on lipids and protein structural characteristics in frankfurters as affected by an emulsified olive oil stabilizing system used as a pork backfat replacer. The oil-in-water emulsions were stabilized with sodium caseinate, without (F/SC) and with microbial transglutaminase (F/SC+MTG). Proximate composition and textural characteristics were also evaluated. Frankfurters F/SC+MTG showed the highest (P < 0.05) hardness and lowest (P < 0.05) adhesiveness. These products also showed the lowest (P < 0.05) half-bandwidth of the 2922 cm–1 band, which could be related to the fact that the lipid chain was more orderly than that in the frankfurters formulated with animal fat and F/SC. The spectral results revealed modifications in the amide I band profile when the olive oil-in-water emulsion replaced animal fat. This fact is indicative of a greater content of aggregated intermolecular β-sheets. Structural characteristics in both proteins and lipids could be associated with the specific textural properties of frankfurters.

Related Stories

Red pepper: Hot stuff for fighting fat?

March 5, 2007

Food scientists in Taiwan are reporting new evidence from laboratory experiments that capsaicin — the natural compound that gives red pepper that spicy hot kick — can reduce the growth of fat cells. The study is scheduled ...

Ian's frozen turkey products recalled

August 15, 2007

The U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the voluntary recall of approximately 12,894 pounds of Ian's frozen turkey products due to mislabeling.

Report: 'Healthy' food not so healthy

January 9, 2008

Heat-and-eat meals in British supermarkets with labels promising healthy food often contain large quantities of fat, nutritionists say.

Cutting fat -- and calories -- from cakes and frostings

March 29, 2010

Delicious new cakes and frostings may someday contain less fat and fewer calories, thanks to work by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists such as Mukti Singh. She's based at the ARS National Center for Agricultural ...

Eating low-fat, thanks to lupin proteins

January 3, 2011

Food should be delicious, healthy and sustainably produced. Researchers are working on new methods to use as many parts of plants as possible for nutrition. In the future, vegetable ingredients could replace animal raw materials. ...

Alligator fat could be used to make biodiesel

August 18, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In addition to being a novelty food, alligators could also provide a feedstock for biodiesel. Every year, the alligator meat industry disposes of about 15 million pounds of alligator fat in landfills. Now ...

Recommended for you

Yarn from slaughterhouse waste

July 29, 2015

ETH researchers have developed a yarn from ordinary gelatine that has good qualities similar to those of merino wool fibers. Now they are working on making the yarn even more water resistant.

Findings illuminate animal evolution in protein function

July 27, 2015

Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond researchers recently teamed up to explore the inner workings of cells and shed light on the 400–600 million years of evolution between humans and early animals ...

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dschlink
not rated yet Dec 07, 2011
"unpleasant chewy texture" A major understatement in my opinion. More like gum rubber texture. But, now that they understand what is happening, most likely a fix is just down the road. A long time ago, my yoga instructor said that a tofu hot dog Chicago-style was much improved by removing the hot dog.
Isaacsname
Dec 07, 2011
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Pirouette
1 / 5 (2) Dec 07, 2011
And kosher hot dogs have way too much garlic and salt. You pay a whole lot more for it too
Doug_Huffman
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2011
Why's it tough to make a healthier hot dog? For the same reason that its tough to make a sow's ear from a silk purse - who wants to eat a hot dog with a silk purse in it?
Shootist
1.3 / 5 (3) Dec 07, 2011
And which nanny is in charge of the planetary population's diet?

Damn.

There are two types of people. Those who would control the actions of others and those who have no such desire.
Pirouette
1.3 / 5 (4) Dec 08, 2011
And which nanny is in charge of the planetary population's diet?


Michelle Obama

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.