Nitrates in hot dogs have had a menacing reputation since the '70s, and doctors are constantly telling us to drink coffee in moderation. But I have excellent news to report today: hot dogs don't seem to cause cancer and coffee can actually protect you from it.

Let's start with hot dogs, which are near and dear to our hearts. We eat a shocking number of hot dogs at Gizmodo. Personally I am vegetarian, but Gizmodo in general is very pro-meat. So we're all thrilled to learn that although nitrates in hot dogs for decades have been suspected carcinogens, a new study announced at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting happening this week in Boston, shows that while the incidence of colon cancer hasn't changed, deaths from the disease have dropped sharply since 1978, when hot dog makers added vitamin C and reduced the amount of nitrites added to hot dogs. To celebrate, Sam is leading a rendition of the hot dog hand jive as depicted above. Join us!

Coffee is a dietary necessity that I think we all agree on. It's one of the most glorious joys in life. And knowing that it's associated with fewer cases of basal cell carcinoma, a non-melanoma type of skin cancer, makes it all the more wonderful. Nearly 1 million people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma each year. The researchers, who also reported their findings at the American Association for Cancer Research meeting, looked at squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma as well and sadly only found the protective effect with the basal cell kind. But we'll take it! Coffee and hot dogs all around!

[Eurekalert: (coffee, hot dogs)]


You can keep up with our Science Editor, Kristen Philipkoski, on Twitter, Facebook, and occasionally Google+