Health-minded adults have beenwary of excessive red meat consumption and most avoid any type of processedmeats due to the highly carcinogenic nitrite content. Additives used to add taste,cure and prolong shelf life of classic foods such as hot dogs, bologna andsausage not only cause cancer but are now shown to more than double the risk ofdeveloping diabetes.
Publishingin the American Journal of ClinicalNutrition, researchers found that a 50 gram daily serving of processed meat(equivalent to one hot dog or two strips of bacon) was associated with doubledrisk of developing diabetes. They also found that protein from other sourcessuch as nuts, seeds and whole grains will have the reverse effect.
Red and Processed Meats Shown to Double Diabetes Risk Factor
Researchersfollowed 37,083 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, 79,570 womenin the Nurses’ Health Study, and 87,504 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II.Diet was assessed by validated food-frequency questionnaires, and data wereupdated every four years. Type II diabetes diagnosis was confirmed by avalidated supplementary questionnaire. In addition the study included data froma total cohort of more than 442,000 participants to make this the largest studyto examine the effect of specific food types on diabetes development andprogression.
After all collected data wasanalyzed with adjustments for age, body mass index (BMI), and other lifestyleand dietary risk factors, researchers found that consumption of 100 grams ofunprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) increased the risk ofdeveloping Type II diabetesby 19%. A diet that included only half that amount of processed meats wasassociated with a 51% increase in diabetes incidence.
Substituting Healthy Proteins from Nuts and Seeds Lowers Diabetes Risk
Most health professionals believethat diabetes risk is linked to increased intake of refined carbohydrates andsugars. While this may be true, it is important to understand that red andprocessed meats play a significant role in development of the metabolicdisorder, likely due to the increased digestive load placed on the pancreas.
Study authors also found thattroubling risk factors can be neutralized or even reversed by substitutinghealthy protein from nuts, seeds, fish and beans for red and processed meats.Senior research author Dr. An Pan foundthat “for an individual who eats onedaily serving of red meat, substituting one serving of nuts per day wasassociated with a 21% lower risk of type 2 diabetes; substituting low-fatdairy, a 17% lower risk; and substituting whole grains, a 23% lower risk.”
Many health-minded individualsalready limit consumption of red and processed meats. The conclusion of thismeta-study drives home the importance of severely restricting red meat andtotally eliminating processed meats in favor of healthy proteins to lowerdiabetes risk factors.