June 22, 2024

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High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk



Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

Harvard University’s latest research suggests that consuming 170 grams of pork, beef, or lamb daily may increase the risk of diabetes by 62%.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects more than 460 million people globally. With changing lifestyles and dietary habits, diabetes has become the third leading factor affecting human health after cardiovascular diseases and malignant tumors. In China, there are over 114 million adult diabetes patients, accounting for a quarter of the world’s diabetes cases.

On October 19, 2023, researchers from Harvard University in the United States published a study titled “Red meat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in a prospective cohort study of United States females and males” in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study reveals that consuming large amounts of red meat is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Compared to those who consume the least red meat, individuals who consume two servings of red meat per day have a 62% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Additionally, each daily serving of processed red meat increases the risk of diabetes by 46%, while an additional daily serving of unprocessed red meat increases the risk by 24%.

Note: One serving of unprocessed red meat is equivalent to 85 grams of pork, beef, or lamb, while one serving of processed red meat is equivalent to 28 grams of bacon or 45 grams of sausage.

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

In this study, researchers analyzed data from three large American studies: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), NHS II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), comprising a total of 216,695 participants. Health data were collected through questionnaires every two to four years, including information on red meat intake (both processed and unprocessed) and diabetes status. Over a 36-year follow-up period, the three cohorts recorded 22,761 cases of type 2 diabetes.

The research found a strong linear relationship between increased red meat consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes. People who consumed the most red meat (two servings per day) had a 62% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed the least.

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

In a sub-analysis, it was discovered that each additional daily serving of processed red meat increased the risk of diabetes by 46%, while each extra daily serving of unprocessed red meat raised the risk by 24%.

Furthermore, the researchers evaluated the impact of replacing red meat with different protein sources on diabetes risk. They found that replacing one serving of red meat per day with nuts and legumes was associated with a 30% reduction in diabetes risk, and substituting one serving with dairy products reduced the risk by 22%.

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

The mechanism by which red meat increases the risk of diabetes, according to researchers, is due to the higher content of saturated fats in red meat, which can impair beta-cell function and insulin sensitivity. Processed red meat often contains high levels of nitrites and their byproducts, which can contribute to endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance.

It is important to note that this is an observational study and can only establish correlation, not causation.

It’s worth mentioning that researchers from the Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong published a study in the European Heart Journal titled “Red meat consumption, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Their research showed that consuming large amounts of processed and unprocessed red meat increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Daily consumption of an extra 50 grams of processed red meat raised the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 26% and diabetes by 44%. Likewise, consuming an additional 100 grams of unprocessed red meat daily increased the risk of cardiovascular diseases by 11% and diabetes by 27%.

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

In conclusion, the results indicate a significant association between consuming large amounts of red meat and an increased risk of diabetes. The findings strongly support dietary guidelines recommending the limitation of red meat consumption.

Harvard: High Red Meat Consumption Linked to 62% Increased Diabetes Risk

Paper Links:

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajcnut.2023.08.021

https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehad336

(source:internet, reference only)


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