As if red meats didn’t have enough bad press, having been linked to heart disease and some cancers… here’s some more which names them as a risk factor of diabetes.
Red meats, particularly the processed varieties such as bacon, sausage and hot dogs might actually raise your risks of developing type 2 diabetes according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Not surprisingly, the team saw that the more red meat you ate, the larger the risk for disease.
Type 2 diabetes affects over 25 million Americans and has long been associated with carrying too much weight, and is a disease where the body can’t produce enough insulin, or the body cells don’t use the insulin they get properly.
Insulin works to assist the body in using glucose (also known as blood sugar) for energy. When blood sugar stays high as it does with diabetes, problems like heart disease, blindness as well as kidney and nerve damage can be the result. This is why it is so important to identify diabetes and follow whatever treatment plan you and your doctor have created.
In the most recent study, subjects who ate a single 3.5 ounce serving (about the size of a deck of playing cards) of non processed red meat (hamburger, steak) a day were almost 20% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Those who ate half this amount, but of processed meat (hot dog, 2 slices of bacon, bologna or salami) had a 51% higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
The research included information on 37,063 men participating in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study, 79,570 women who were taking part in the Nurses’ Health Study I and another 87,504 women who were part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. As part of the current study, the team also conducted a literature review analysis that included data from the most recent research and earlier projects.
Even though the amount of meat intake isn’t very large, the risk associated with it is rather high according to Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD a professor at Harvard School of Public Health. The findings of this research are important considering the epidemic of diabetes and the ever-increasing consumption of red meat by most people.
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Warning: Red And Processed Meats Linked To Diabetes Risk… Continued…
Just how red meats might impact the risk of diabetes is unknown. It might be that the processed meats high nitrate content ups the risk of insulin resistance. This is a pre-diabetic condition that happens when the body cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. What’s more, processed meats have high amounts of iron, and high stores of iron in the body have also been linked to a higher risk of diabetes.
The team suggests people keep their intake of processed and red meats as low as possible. Try not to make the meat the center of your plate and instead load up on healthier sources of protein like nuts, low fat dairy (yogurt), whole grains, chicken and fish.
It’s clear that processed meats are much more dangerous than the unprocessed variety, though these are by no means harmless. It’s important therefore that your diet changes from a red meat focused way of eating to a more diverse, protein based eating plan.
The meat industry, represented by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and registered dietitian Shalene McNeill, disputes the research findings – stating they’re suggestive of an association but not proof of cause and effect. She insists there is a large body of research that shows lean beef is an important part of a healthy diet, and that the most important advice for cutting the risk of type 2 diabetes is to keep your weight under control. Be active and follow a diet that is in line with established Dietary Guidelines.
Experts continue to recommend that the best eating plan for those with a risk factor of diabetes is personalized, with saturated fats less than 7% of your total daily calories. And while no one can say for sure that cutting out the red or processed meats, for sure, will be of benefit, it’s something to consider along with the other changes you’re making to keep your body healthy and your risk of disease at bay.