June 21, 2024

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Harvard Study

2 min read
Red Meat Consumption and Type 2 Diabetes: A Correlation Study

A Harvard University-led study analyzed the dietary habits of 217,000 participants over 36 years to determine the link between their diets and the development of type 2 diabetes. More than 22,000 participants developed the disease during this time.

The study found that consuming more meat increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, even with just two servings of red meat per week. Higher meat intake was associated with a greater risk. Replacing red meat with plant-based protein sources like nuts and legumes decreased the risk of developing diabetes.

Those who consumed the most meat had a 62% higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate less. Each daily serving of processed red meat increased the risk by 46%, while unprocessed red meat raised the risk by 24%. Substituting red meat with nuts or legumes could lower the risk by 30%, while replacing a portion of milk could decrease it by 22%.

Dr. Cashio Gu, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University, stated that while there is no definitive proof that eating red meat causes type 2 diabetes, there is evidence linking it to insulin resistance and impaired beta cell function, which can lead to diabetes. Red meat is high in saturated fat and heme iron, both of which have been linked to these conditions.

Prof. Julio Weinstein, a diabetologist, emphasized that adopting a healthy diet is essential in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to dietary changes, monitoring blood sugar levels with a continuous glucose meter and engaging in physical activity are also recommended to lower this risk. Consuming more nuts, legumes, soy, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce your chances of developing diabetes.

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