If you are diabetic, there is no need to deprive yourself of a good filet mignon or any other type of unprocessed red meat. However, sausages, salami, bacon, and ham are a different story as they have been connected to diabetes type 2.

A new study conducted by Martin Lajous and colleagues at Harvard School for Public Health, Massachusetts, have reviewed research on the subject and have concluded that regular consumption of processed red meat is connected to the development of diabetes type 2.

The study was published by Diabetes Care and posted by MedWire News on Nov 22, 2011

Processed red meat consumption linked to diabetes risk

MedWire News: Habitual consumption of processed red meat may be associated with an increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes, report US researchers.

Regular consumption of unprocessed red meat, however, does not appear to influence diabetes risk, they say.

The team evaluated the information for 66,118 middle-aged French women who responded to reproductive, lifestyle, and medical questionnaires between 1993 and 2007 as part of the E3N study (Etude Epidémiologique auprès des femmes de la Mutuelle Générale de L’Education Nationale).

Martin Lajous (Harvard School for Public Health, Massachusetts) and colleagues used the questionnaires and a drug reimbursement database to identify 1369 cases of incident diabetes.

Unprocessed red meat was defined as beef, pork, veal, horse, and sheep, whereas processed red meat referred to sausages, salami, bacon, and ham.

The authors categorized the intake of processed and unprocessed red meat according to servings per week, whereby 1 serving of unprocessed meat was estimated at 100 grams (g) and 1 serving of processed meat at 50 g.

Multivariable analysis revealed that there was a significant 30% higher rate for incident diabetes among individuals consuming five or more servings of processed red meat per week, compared with those consuming less than one serving.

In contrast, there was no association between consumption of unprocessed red meat and diabetes risk.

“One explanation for these results is that added nitrates and salt in processed red meat may have a biological effect on glucose metabolism,” write Lajous et al in the journal Diabetes Care.

“In the absence of a clear biological mechanism, the consistency of the epidemiologic evidence calls for a thorough investigation of the constituents found in processed meats that may disrupt glucose metabolism,” conclude the researchers.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010.


I am Andy Carpenter and I would start by saying that I have a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition Science conferred by California State University, Los Angeles and that I am certified as a Registered Dietitian.

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