June 14, 2024

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Harvard: Increased Risk of Diabetes from Eating Red Meat

Harvard University Scientists Find Increased Risk of Diabetes from Eating Red Meat

Harvard University Scientists Find Increased Risk of Diabetes from Eating Red Meat

A recent study by Harvard University suggests that even consuming just two servings of red meat per week can elevate the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The risk escalates with higher consumption. However, substituting red meat with healthier plant-based protein sources such as nuts, legumes, or dairy can reduce this risk.

Beyond health implications, choosing plant-based proteins over red meat can also help mitigate environmental issues, like greenhouse gas emissions.

Transitioning from red meat to plant-based protein sources can lower the risk of diabetes and bring environmental benefits.

 

Harvard University Scientists Find Increased Risk of Diabetes from Eating Red Meat

 

 

A recent study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates that eating just two servings of red meat per week may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to those who consume less red meat. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

“Our research strongly supports dietary guidelines recommending limits on red meat consumption, whether it’s processed or unprocessed,” said Dr. Xiao Gu, the lead author and a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Nutrition.

While prior research has already linked red meat consumption to the risk of type 2 diabetes, this study analyzed a substantial number of type 2 diabetes cases among participants tracked over the long term, further solidifying this association.

 

Growing Concerns and Research Approach

The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing in the United States and globally, raising concerns due to the disease’s substantial burden and its role as a major risk factor for cardiovascular and kidney diseases, cancer, and dementia.

In this study, researchers examined health data from 216,695 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), NHS II, and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS). Participants’ dietary habits were assessed through food frequency questionnaires every two to four years over a span of 36 years. During this period, over 22,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes.

The researchers found a strong association between the consumption of red meat, both processed and unprocessed, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Participants who consumed the most red meat had a 62% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who ate the least red meat. Consuming an additional serving of processed red meat per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 46%, while an extra serving of unprocessed red meat per day raised the risk by 24%.

The researchers also estimated the potential impact of replacing one serving of red meat per day with another protein source. They found that substituting one serving of red meat with nuts and legumes reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 30%, and replacing it with dairy lowered the risk by 22%.

Walter Willett, a senior author and professor of epidemiology and nutrition, remarked, “Given our findings and previous work by others, it’s reasonable for those seeking to optimize health and well-being to limit red meat consumption to about one serving per week.”

The researchers noted that apart from health benefits, replacing red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources would contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, addressing climate change, and providing additional environmental benefits.

 

 

Harvard University Scientists Find Increased Risk of Diabetes from Eating Red Meat

(source:internet, reference only)


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