Red meat and diabetes

Experts at the Harvard School of Public Health recently had a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on the link between red meat consumption and type 2 diabetes. It’s the largest study of its kind. You can read the abstract here: http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2011/08/10/ajcn.111.018978.abstract?sid=c3e3247b-e031-48e8-bbb1-8a1fd1c877c9. You can read a review of the study here: http://news.yahoo.com/red-meat-boosts-diabetes-risk-us-study-161043220.html.

The basics are as follows: Eating about 100 grams of red meat per day (the size of a deck of playing cards, approximately) increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 19%. Eating about 50 grams (so half of the previous amount) of processed red meat (hot dogs, bologna, etc.) per day increased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 51%. Fifty-one percent! That’s like a hot dog a day. There’s good news however: you can offset these risks by just swapping out the red meat and processed meat for other high-protein foods, like nuts (I like almonds and peanut butter), dairy or whole grain proteins. The article suggests white meat as well; however, the study does not.

Should you feel compelled to shrug this scientific data off, bear in mind that there are rising incidences of type 2 diabetes worldwide that correlates to the rise in red meat consumption globally. Also bear in mind that the increased risks bear true even after factoring in other things like already being overweight or not working out enough – these statistics are the same for a healthy, athletic 20 year-old as they are for an out of shape 40 year-old.

So just cut back, ok?

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