Diabetes Risk Linked To Red Meat

A new study shows that consuming as little as one serving of red meat daily can increase a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The study focused on data analyzed from over 200,000 individuals. Researchers looked the dietary information of the participants, including their meat consumption.

What they found was that when individuals ate at least four ounces per day of certain unprocessed forms of meat, such as hamburger, steak, or pork chops, their risk of contracting type 2 diabetes could go up by as much as twenty percent. This was in comparison to those individuals who had only consumed these meats an average of once per week.

Frank Wu, a co-author of the study, commented on the findings.

“We found that one serving per day of processed meat like a hot dog or sausage was associated with a 50 percent increased risk of diabetes, compared with those who ate processed meat less than once a month,” said Wu.

The study also showed that when individuals consumed more red meat, they were also more apt to lower their intake of fruits and vegetables. These same individuals also had more of a tendency to be obese and to be smokers.

The researchers believe that the increased risk is tied to the amount of iron that is present in these types of meat. They believe that the iron can increase inflammatory chemicals, which, in turn, go to work to sort out and destroy the body's beta cells. These cells are necessary for producing insulin.

Researchers also believe that the nitrates in processed meats are toxic to the beta cells. This would explain why these types of meats directly increased the diabetes risk.

The researchers did express that these are not conclusive bits of evidence directly linking red meat consumption to diabetes.

The findings of the study have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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