Mmm, hot dogs; massively unhealthy but deeply satisfying. Sadly, previous attempts to remove some of their saturated fat have resulted in some repellent, rubbery snacks. Now, scientists are pumping cellulose into hot dogs to try and make them healthier while maintaining their texture.

To reduce the saturated fat content scientists usually try using oils, which contain less of the stuff, in place of solid fats. Speaking to Scientific American, however, Alejandro Marangoni, who studies food and soft materials science at the University of Guelph in Canada, gets to the root of the problem:

"If you try it with just oil, the frankfurters have a very tough, leathery property."

Nobody wants a leathery hot dog. So instead, the researchers have mixed canola oil with molecules of ethyl cellulose. The result is a hot dog that contains less saturated fat while maintaining the texture we know and love. "It behaves as if it were solid beef fat," Marangoni says.

While it won't turn hot dogs into diet food anytime soon, it will make them healthier than the current artery-clogging snacks we shovel down. Does that mean we can eat more of them? [Scientific American]

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