Study Links Red Meat to Higher Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Indulging in red meat may carry health implications, as a recent study found a link between its consumption and a heightened risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The study, unveiled last Thursday in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scrutinized the health data of 216,695 individuals, concluding that the risk of this form of diabetes escalates with increased red meat intake.

Over a span of up to 36 years, the researchers evaluated the participants’ diets through food questionnaires filled out every two to four years.

Eating Red Meat Over Once a Week May Hike Type 2 Diabetes Risk

The outcome revealed that over 22,000 individuals developed Type 2 diabetes. When comparing dietary habits, it was noted that those who reported the highest red meat consumption had a 62% higher risk of developing this condition compared to those who ate the least.

Furthermore, the study estimated that each additional daily serving was associated with a greater risk — 46% for processed red meat and 24% for unprocessed.

In the United States, over 37 million individuals have diabetes, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with approximately 90% to 95% of these cases being Type 2 diabetes.

Though it predominantly develops in people over the age of 45, an increasing number of children, teens, and young adults are being diagnosed with this condition.

Xiao Gu, the study’s author and postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, stated,

“Our findings strongly support dietary guidelines that recommend limiting the consumption of red meat, and this applies to both processed and unprocessed red meat.”

Gu shared this insight through a news release, highlighting the importance of moderation in red meat consumption for better health.

Faced with the question of how to obtain proteins while reducing red meat intake, the research team explored alternatives.

They found that replacing a serving of red meat with nuts and legumes was associated with a 30% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, they pointed out that choosing plant protein sources not only benefits health but also the environment.

Senior author Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition, added,

“Given our findings and previous work by others, a limit of about one serving per week of red meat would be reasonable for people wishing to optimize their health and wellbeing.”

With information from CBS News

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