A Study Has Connected Eating Red Meat To An Increased Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

A Study Has Connected Eating Red Meat To An Increased Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes | The Lifesciences Magazine

Two servings of red meat per week may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, according to a large new study by Harvard researchers; the risk rises further with increased consumption, the study found. It was published on Thursday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study’s first author, Xiao Gu, a postdoctoral research fellow in nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, stated via email that “the association between red meat and type 2 diabetes has been observed in different populations worldwide.” “We continue to bolster existing evidence with better data and methodologies. I’m hoping that our research will end the argument over whether or not we should restrict our consumption of red meat for health reasons.

Type 2 diabetes affects about 462 million people globally, and the number has been rising quickly, according to the authors.

Gu added, “Diabetes prevention is important because this disease is itself a serious burden and also a significant risk factor for kidney and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia.”

Red meat consumption has been connected to type 2 diabetes risk in previous studies, but the latest study’s authors aimed to expand on these findings by revealing how diabetes diagnoses and associated biomarkers were impacted by intake over an extended period of time.

The Nurses’ Health Study, Nurses’ Health Study II, and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study—all of which recruited participants from around 1976 to 1989—collected data on 216,695 individuals. The last study evaluated the same issues but for men. The first two studies examined risk factors for major chronic diseases among female registered nurses in North America.

The majority of the participants, who were White, started the NHS on average at age 46, continued it at age 36, and started the HPFS on average at age 53. All were tracked down by no later than 2017 in total. Every two to four years, participants completed questionnaires asking them to report their average intake of various meals and beverages during the previous year. They also answered questions about their health status and food intake.

Nearly 22,800 persons had type 2 diabetes by the conclusion of the follow-up periods, and those who consumed the most red meat overall had a 62% higher risk of getting the condition than those who consumed the least. A higher risk of type 2 diabetes was associated with eating the most processed or unprocessed red meat, by a margin of 51% and 40%, respectively.

The authors defined processed meat as sausage, beef or pork hot dogs, bacon and sandwiches made of processed meat; one serving was equal to 45 grammes of the other meats or 28 grammes of bacon.

Lean or extra lean hamburger, ordinary hamburger, beef, pig, or lamb in sandwiches or mixed dishes, and pork, beef, or lamb as a main meal were all examples of unprocessed meat. One dish of unprocessed meat consisted of 85 grammes of hog, beef, or lamb.

Red meat associated with risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, study shows

According to Alice Lichtenstein, Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, “the results of this study, which was extremely comprehensive, confirmed current dietary guidance to limit red meat intake.” The study did not include Lichtenstein.

Additionally, replacing a portion of meat with nuts, legumes, or dairy decreased the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 30% and by 22%, respectively.

Notably, said Lichtenstein, who is also the director of Tuft University’s Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory, “individuals who reported consuming red meat most frequently within each cohort were more likely to eat less fish (or) fruit and (more) calories, weigh more, and engage in less physical activity.” “This suggests they had a poorer overall diet quality and were less likely to engage (in) healthy lifestyle behaviours.”

Meat and diabetes: A link

According to Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of nutrition and food science at the University of Reading in the UK, the study does not demonstrate a causal link between eating red meat and type 2 diabetes. He wasn’t a part of the investigation.

However, the authors noted that a variety of biological variables might have impacted the link between red meat and type 2 diabetes.

For starters, it has been shown that saturated fat, which is abundant in red meat, decreases insulin sensitivity and the functionality of the beta cells in the pancreas, which release insulin in a controlled manner to control blood glucose.

Heme iron, the kind of iron included in animal products, can also worsen insulin resistance, decrease beta cell function, and cause oxidative stress, which results in an unbalanced level of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. The cells of the body can be harmed by free radicals, unstable chemicals found in environmental sources like cigarette smoke or pesticides.

The amino acid glycine, which naturally occurs in most proteins and is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, has also been found to be used more frequently after consumption of red meat, according to the study’s authors. The study found that red meat consumption was one of the dietary components that had the strongest correlation with weight growth. Excess body fat is another risk factor for diabetes.

Choosing to combine these lifestyle modifications is the greatest way to reduce your consumption of red meat, according to Lichtenstein.

Dairy, legumes, and nuts are the healthiest meals to substitute for red meat, according to research, she continued. “For the first, I would suggest fat-free and low-fat products given the concern about saturated fat and beta-cell function.”

According to the research, cutting back on red meat consumption to one serving per week “would be reasonable for people wishing to optimise their health and wellbeing,” said senior study author Dr. Walter C. Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Along with other environmental advantages, Gu said using plant-based sources of protein will help lower greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

Also Read: CDC terms Red Meat Allergy as a Concern

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