The delicious smell of traditional baseball food - hotdogs, beer and onions - is usually enough to quell any worries about nutrition, but a new study suggests that these snacks are not necessarily as bad as commonly thought.
Researchers at the American Chemical Society claim that a series of studies originally published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggest that some ballpark favorites, including beer, contain compounds that are good for you.
This certainly goes against received wisdom, but does point to the fact that food makers should look to highlight the beneficial nature - if taken in moderation - of products not usually associated with having healthful properties.
And given America's current state of health and growing awareness of problems such has obesity and heart disease, this could prove to be a valuable marketing tool.
Researchers in Spain for example have shown that sunflower seeds may lower blood pressure. The popular seeds appear to release a compound upon digestion that has the potential to lower blood pressure and could serve as a natural weapon to help strike out hypertension.
And according to a group of Israeli researchers, moderate beer drinking may reduce heart attack risk. In preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease, the researchers showed that drinking one 12-ounce beer a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack.
Those who participated in the study showed decreased cholesterol levels, an increase in antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein, according to the researchers.
Anti-cancer compounds have also been found in sauerkraut, the tangy topping made from fermented cabbage that often spills down your shirt as you take a bite of your hot dog. A class of compounds called isothiocyanates that were previously identified in other studies as potential cancer-fighting agents have been found within the product.
It is also a known fact that onions battle osteoporosis. In lab studies using bone cells from rats, researchers at the University of Bern in Switzerland found a peptide compound in onions that appears to decrease bone loss. Although more studies are needed, the study suggests that eating onions might help people prevent bone loss and osteoporosis, a disease which predominately affects older women.
Hot dogs however remain problematic. Low-fat hot dogs are obviously better for your heart than regular dogs, but they simply don't taste as good. Researchers found that aroma compounds, which affect flavor, appear to be released more slowly and last longer in regular frankfurters than in the lower-fat variety.
And on top of this, it is difficult to provide a case for a product that has, in any case, little nutritional merit. Only about half of the hot dog, regardless of type, is some kind of meat or another. The rest is fat, water, spices, flavorings, and chemicals.
Typically, 80 per cent of the calories come from fat, and only 12 per cent from protein.
So while the rest of the snacks on offer have at least some nutritional merit, there is perhaps a gap in the market for a more nutritional and healthy snack than the humble hot dog. Americans are increasingly watching what they eat, largely because of some alarming figures that have crept into the public consciousness.
For example, the American Heart Association says that 34.2 percent of Americans (70.1 million people) suffered from some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2002. CVD was the cause of 0.9 million deaths.
More than 50 percent of American adults had total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or higher in 2002, and in 18.3 percent it was above 240ml/dL. And more than 64 percent of adults are currently either overweight or obese, with 16 percent of children currently obese.