Eating More Red Meat Increases Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Published Online: Thursday, October 10, 2013
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Increasing red meat consumption was associated with a subsequent increase in risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) in a recent subanalysis of 3 cohort studies published in the July 22, 2013, issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.

The researchers followed 26,357 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, 48,709 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, and 74,077 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II for 4 years, collecting information on diet through validated food frequency questionnaires.

Throughout the study period, 7540 new cases of type 2 DM were recorded. The results indicated that participants from all 3 cohorts who increased their red meat intake over the 4-year period also had an increased risk of developing type 2 DM. Participants who increased their red meat consumption by more than half a serving per day were 48% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes in the subsequent 4 years than those who did not change their red meat intake. Conversely, participants who reduced their red meat intake by more than half a serving per day had a 14% decreased risk of developing diabetes throughout the entire follow-up.

The authors suggest that reducing red meat consumption may contribute to type 2 DM prevention over time. The study is the first to relate changes in red meat intake with diabetes risk, and the results add to previous research that consistently links red meat consumption with an elevated diabetes risk.

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